Jeremy Corbyn says he stands by comments on Ukraine weapons supply

The former Labour leader said his suspension from the parliamentary group was ‘completely wrong’.

10 August 2022

Jeremy Corbyn has said he stands by statements he made on the supply of Western weapons to Ukraine.

In an interview with Al Mayadeen in July he said “pouring arms in” would “prolong and exaggerate” the war, saying more effort should be placed on securing a ceasefire.

Al Mayadeen is a Middle Eastern TV channel based in Lebanon seen as being sympathetic to the Syrian government and Hezbollah.

On Wednesday, the former Labour leader spoke to LBC’s Iain Dale at an event during the Edinburgh Fringe.

The Islington North MP said his removal from Labour’s parliamentary group was “completely wrong” and also described the Aukus defence deal between the UK, US and Australia as “dangerous”.

Migrant crisis
Mr Corbyn said his removal from Labour’s parliamentary group was ‘completely wrong’ (UK Parliament)

Mr Dale said asked him about his comments on Al Mayadeen and whether he wanted the supply of weapons to Ukraine to stop.

Mr Corbyn said: “I think the words I used was, the only policy being followed by most of the West is to pour arms into the Ukraine.

“The point I was making was there is nobody as far as I can see pushing enough to get some kind of ceasefire.”

The recent deal on grain exports from Ukraine indicated an agreement was possible, he said.

Mr Corbyn continued: “The killing has to stop, the peace protesters in Russia have to be recognised.

“The loss of peoples’ lives in Ukraine and the refugees have got to be recognised.

“The war has to stop, otherwise where does it go?

“You’ve got nuclear arms in the neighbourhood.”

Mr Dale then asked if that was for the head of the Ukrainian government to decide, as his territory had been invaded.

Mr Corbyn replied: “His territory has been invaded, I absolutely condemn the Russian invasion.”

He said he had long condemned human rights abuses by Russia, including during the Chechen war.

The Islington North MP continued: “We could just watch the war go on.

“Put more arms in there, Russia will put more arms in, and it will go on and there will be more killing.”

Saying he did not want the war to continue for years, he added: “A ceasefire, followed by withdrawal, followed by some kind of agreement between the countries has got to be the way forward.”

Russian invasion of Ukraine
Mr Corbyn discussed the supply of Western arms to Ukraine (UK MOD)

Mr Dale then asked if that meant Ukraine and the West would have to accept that Russia had taken more territory.

Mr Corbyn said this did not have to be the case, saying: “The issues of the Donbas have been in dispute for some time, particularly Donetsk and Luhansk.

“There has been a war going on there for a long time.

“In the case of Crimea Russia would claim they had a referendum albeit nobody recognised the conduct of that referendum.

“There has to be some negotiation on what’s going to happen in the future. 

“Russian and Ukrainian people are interlinked in so many ways, they were part of the same country until 1992.”

Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan
Mr Corbyn was asked about his links to Stop the War (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Mr Corbyn was also asked about statements from Stop The War, an organisation he said he was “eternal vice president” of.

However he said he sometimes disagreed with the language Stop The War used.

Discussing tensions between China and Taiwan, he said an arrangement should be reached between the two sides.

He continued: “I do think the Aukus agreement, the UK, US Australia agreement, of militarisation in the South China Sea is quite dangerous in many ways because it would build up more and more tensions in that area.”

Mr Corbyn was asked if he expected to be readmitted to the Parliamentary Labour Party, to which he said: “Expectations in politics are always a bit risky.”

Asked if he wanted to be readmitted, he said: “Yes, obviously. I think it was completely wrong for me to be removed.”

Mr Dale then suggested giving interviews to Iranian TV stations did not help his cause, to which Mr Corbyn said: “I stand by the interviews I’ve done, the statements I’ve made.

“I think the Labour Party has to be a big, diverse organisation.”

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