Putin has been humiliated by a weaker country, says Sir Malcolm Rifkind

Putin has been humiliated by a weaker country, says Sir Malcolm Rifkind
Gabrielle Wilde

By Gabrielle Wilde

Published: 25/02/2024

- 12:59

It has been two years since Russia invaded Ukraine

Former Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind has said that Russian president Vladimir Putin has been humiliated by a weaker country as the war in Ukraine reaches its second anniversary.

He told GB News: “It's been a total disaster for the Ukrainians, but it's been an even greater disaster for Putin, because he ends up having been humiliated by a weaker country, being able to actually stop the Russians and indeed reverse some of the gains.

“But also this was all about NATO and a question of NATO membership. What happens? Sweden and Finland who have been neutral for 150 years are now members of NATO. The Baltic Sea is now a NATO sea with only a very small Russian coast.

“Think of the gas industry, one of the most important industries for the country. Gazprom, one of the biggest companies in the world is approaching bankruptcy, 80% of its revenue has been lost.”

On the death of Alexei Navalny, he told Camilla Tominey “The question of the assassination of Navalny is not spitting in the face of the world, it’s spitting in the face of the Russian people. He did that because he was frightened about it.

“When Navalny was free to operate in a normal political way, huge numbers of people were supporting him and Putin began to panic. All these things that Putin does, ultimately they're a sign of his weakness, like having to have what is in fact a phoney election.

“Why does he have to go through this farce of an election when everybody knows nobody else is able to stand against him? Why? Because he likes to pretend that he is a democratic leader, that he has legitimacy, and the Russian public aren't stupid. They know perfectly well he hasn’t.”

He added: “All these things that happen are not signs of Putin's strength. I know they seem to be in one sense, but they’re signs of weakness, that he has to behave in this way, blowing up one of his opponents in an aircraft, killing a guy who's already locked up in an Arctic prison.

“The fact that he has to go beyond that and dispose of them by murder, that shows ultimately his weakness.

“Putin can hang on for a while. Russia doesn't have a Politburo like it had in the Soviet days when they got rid of Khrushchev very easily, but the people around Putin know that he has not been able to deliver this easy conflict that would destroy Ukraine and restore them to being part of the Russian Federation.”

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