What did Jeremy Corbyn say about Ukraine? Ex Labour leader’s comments on UK and US part in Ukraine-Russia war

The former Leader of the Opposition has criticised the West in a TV interview for an Arabic news channel

Jeremy Corbyn has been largely confined to the political sidelines since losing the 2019 General Election to Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party.

In 2020, the former Labour leader was indefinitely suspended by his successor - Sir Keir Starmer - for playing down the extent of anti-semitism in the party under his leadership.

The MP for Islington North has since criticised Labour’s policy direction under Starmer.

Now, the ex-Leader of the Opposition has generated headlines this week for expressing controversial views about the UK and USA’s role in the Russia-Ukraine war.

Jeremy Corbyn has been criticised for comments he has made about Ukraine (image: Getty Images)

So, what did Jeremy Corbyn say - and how has Labour reacted?

Here’s everything you need to know.

What did Jeremy Corbyn say about Ukraine?

Speaking to Lebanon-based TV channel Al Mayadeen, Jeremy Corbyn criticised the West’s role in the Russia-Ukraine war.

In particular, the former Labour leader said he was opposed to the role the UK and USA have played in arming President Volodymyr Zelensky’s government against the Kremlin’s forces.

His successor Sir Keir Starmer has backed the decision to send arms to Kyiv, and has also been supportive of the NATO military alliance.

“Pouring arms in isn’t going to bring about a solution, it’s only going to prolong and exaggerate this war,” Corbyn said.

“We might be in for years and years of a war in Ukraine.

Jeremy Corbyn said the West should use the language of peace (image: AFP/Getty Images)

“What I find disappointing is that hardly any of the world’s leaders use the word peace; they always use the language of more war, and more bellicose war.

“This war is disastrous for the people of Ukraine, for the people of Russia, and for the safety and security of the whole world, and therefore there has to be much more effort put into peace.”

Corbyn said he wanted the United Nations to be “much more centre stage”, and suggested bringing in other international bodies, like the African Union or the League of Arab States, to mediate in any ceasefire negotiations should the UN fail to make progress.

The interview also saw Jeremy Corbyn claim he had been criticised for anti-semitism due to his support for Palestine.

He described his suspension from Labour as “disgraceful”.

Alongside these comments, the MP’s decision to give an interview to the Al Mayadeen outlet has also proven to be controversial.

The Syrian leader has been accused of perpetuating war crimes during the civil war that has ravaged the country for the last 11 years, and is also a close ally of President Vladimir Putin.

Al Mayadeen is also accused of being a supporter of political party-cum-militant group Hezbollah, parts of which are deemed to be a terrorist organisation in the West.

What’s been the reaction to Jeremy Corbyn Ukraine comments?

Jeremy Corbyn’s comments on the Russia-Ukraine War have been criticised.

A Labour source told the Guardian: “There cannot be any ambiguity about the choice he’s making, and that is to put himself outside the Labour mainstream.”

Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the defence select committee and a former defence minister, told The Telegraph: ‘[Corbyn] is illustrating yet again why he would have been such an inappropriate prime minister for the nation.

“He doesn’t understand that the geopolitical consequences of supporting democracy occasionally means using hard power.

“This is deeply irresponsible for a senior politician. I hope his comments are not seen to undermine the wider support for, and the commitment to, supporting Ukraine following this unprovoked invasion by Putin.”