UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn says that Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military alliance have to demilitarize their borders before their differences lead to another Cold War.
Speaking to the BBC on Sunday, Corbyn said he had “many, many criticisms of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin,” but that NATO had to retreat from Eastern Europe and avoid confrontation with Moscow.
“I do think there has to be a process that we try and demilitarize the border between what are now the NATO states and Russia so we drive apart those forces, keep them further apart,” Corbyn said. “We can’t descend into a new Cold War.”
The opposition leader’s comments come at a time when London, as a member of the US-led military alliance, has assured fellow members of the UK’s full support despite a vote to leave the European Union (EU).
Constantly calling on the EU to unite and repel the “Russian aggression,” the UK has pledged massive troop deployments to NATO’s eastern frontier with Russia. The UK plans to provide enough forces and equipment to form one of NATO’s four proposed battalions in Eastern Europe.
However, NATO’s plans to put together an anti-Russia force hit a major roadblock when Donald Trump was elected US president on Tuesday.
In the months before his electoral victory, Trump referred to NATO as obsolete, saying the members had to pay the US for protecting them.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg could not hide his deep concerns about Trump’s election, warning him against distancing Washington from the alliance.
“In these uncertain times we need strong American leadership, and we need Europeans to shoulder their fair share of the burden. But above all we need to recognize the value of the partnership between Europe and America. It remains indispensable,” Stoltenberg wrote in The Observer on Saturday.
Corbyn attacked Trump in his interview on Sunday, saying he wouldn’t have won the election so easily if Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders had been his opponent.
“There is now a much stronger left movement across the United States and across Europe. Bernie Sanders garnered a very large number of votes,” he said. “Yes, I think he probably could have won.”