Boris Johnson blames EU 'pretensions' for Ukraine crisis
Boris Johnson today ramped up the Brexit debate by claiming the European Union was responsible for the crisis in the Ukraine.
His remarks were partly a response to a speech earlier today from David Cameron in which the Prime Minister claimed Britain leaving the EU could cause a war on the continent.
In a question-and-answer session after his own speech on Europe, the former Mayor of London argued it was the EU that was itself provoking conflict.
Mr Johnson said Nato, not the EU, was the real “guarantor of peace” on the continent, and warned that the EU should not try to encroach on the alliance’s peacekeeping role.
“If you want an example of EU foreign policymaking on the hoof and the EU’s pretensions to running a defence policy that have caused real trouble, then look at what has happened in Ukraine,” he told reporters.
“I think it’s very, very important we don’t muddle up the role of the EU with the role of Nato and to say that the EU has been the guarantor of peace on our continent risks, in my view, undermining that fundamental defence architecture that is the North Atlantic Treaty alliance that has been primarily responsible for peace in our time.”
Britain Stronger in Europe spokesman James McGrory tweeted that the former London mayor was peddling a “Putin-apologist” line reminiscent of the leader of France’s far-right Front National, Marine Le Pen.
Mr Johnson also implied that the Prime Minister had been dishonest in his speech earlier, in which he said the UK could “come to regret” leaving the bloc if it resulted in conflict.
“I don’t think the Prime Minister can seriously believe that leaving the EU would trigger war on the European continent, given that he was prepared only a few months ago to urge that people should vote Leave if they fail to get a substantially reformed EU,” Mr Johnson said.
“We have not got a substantially reformed EU, the thing is virtually identical to before. I think it’s very, very curious that the Prime Minister is now calling this referendum and warning us that World War Three is about to break out unless we vote to remain."