The Russian president sent shockwaves through the world last week when he declared war on Ukraine. He launched a full-scale invasion of the country in the early hours of Thursday, February 27. UK Defence Select Committee Chair Tobias Ellwood told Express.co.uk that his decision to do so was aided by his relationship with China.
He said that the two countries have been growing closer for “years” but hit out at the West for having “done nothing about it”.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “The evidence has been there for months, for years.
“That there is a progressive alliance developing between these two nations.
“Indeed it was evident from the joint statement they made when Putin, one of the few leaders to attend the Beijing Olympics, expressed a determination to develop a new interpretation of international rule.
“And yet we’ve done nothing about it.
“We’ve not recognised that Putin’s entire emboldened attitude, and aggressive attitude, Putin’s adventurism has been fuelled by the fact that he’s got a new best friend standing behind him.”
Soon after Mr Putin announced the invasion of Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Minister confirmed that he had spoken with his counterpart in China, Wang Yi.
Mr Yi said that China understands Russia’s “legitimate concerns”.
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Mr Ellwood said: “We’ve tried sanctions, which rarely change the direction of travel.
“History shows that as a method to adequately change events, there are mixed results.
“Certainly, Putin will have factored in what would be thrown at him.
“The biggest fault of the West is failing to understand the bigger picture of where Putin wants to take his country.
“And when you appreciate that he’s looking to pivot Russia away from the West towards China, then the introduction of sanctions simply plays into his own strategy, because he’ll fill the vacuum with trade opportunities with his new friend in exchange for the scale of oil and gas.”
He added: “If Kyiv falls then history will ask why the West didn’t do more.”