Vladimir Putin is “mirroring” the fascism of Hitler and must face the same fate as the Nazi top command, the UK defence secretary Ben Wallace said today.
In a speech at the National Army Museum in London this morning, Ben Wallace ramped up the rhetoric against the Russian president as Moscow marks “Victory Day” to commemorate the defeat of the Nazis in 1945.
“Through their invasion of Ukraine, Putin, his inner circle and generals are now mirroring the fascism and tyranny of 77 years ago, repeating the errors of last century’s totalitarian regimes”, Wallace said.
Wallace called out the “absurdity” of Russian generals for their support of the war and being “utterly complicit in Putin’s hijacking of their forebears’ proud history of defending against a ruthless invasion, of repelling fascism, of sacrificing themselves for a higher purpose.”
He said that Putin’s inner circle and general must face “war crimes” trials over their actions.
Speaking in Moscow today at the victory day parade, President Putin claimed Russia had been spurred into action by the encroachment of Western troops on Russia’s borders, saying the West had been “preparing for the invasion of our land, including Crimea”.
Wallace rebuffed the comments, saying the Russian president had been making “fairy-tale claims for months”.
He added that while Putin claimed to be “surrounded”, countries in the Nato military alliance accounted for only 6 per cent of Russia’s land border.
“Let me put on the record categorically: Nato, Britain, Eastern Europe is not planning to invade Russia and never has done,” he added.
It comes as the prime minister’s spokesperson doubled down on commitments to militarily and financially support Ukraine today, saying the government was “in this for the long haul”, the BBC reported.
However, the spokesman insisted the UK was not looking for regime change in Russia, but “focused on getting Putin to change course in Ukraine”.