'Russian bear doesn't scare me' says Hertfordshire MP
PUBLISHED: 06:00 26 March 2014
A Hertfordshire MP has said despite The Kremlin's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, the 'Russian Bear' holds no fear for him.
"Male life expectancy there is barely 60. Russia is not the great bear that it pretends to be."
Charles Walker said the move by Russian president Vladimir Putin, which has been dubbed a “land grab” by some, was a sign of weakness.
Speaking in the House of Commons last week, Mr Walker, whose constituency includes Cuffley, Northaw and Goffs Oak, asked Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander: “Does the right honourable gentleman agree that Russia is not the power that it once was?
“It is riddled with corruption, and with a population of only 143 million, it has a failing demographic.
“Male life expectancy there is barely 60. Russia is not the great bear that it pretends to be.”
Mr Alexander replied in the affirmative, and added: “There has been too much commentary in recent days on the strategic genius of President Putin.
“In fact, he has been obliged to act out of weakness, rather than strength.”
Mr Walker also said: “Russia needs the West a great deal more than we need Russia. We should not be afraid of being robust in our actions against the nationalist actions of President Putin.”
Foreign Secretary William Hague had earlier paid tribute to the “extraordinary restraint” shown by Ukraine’s government in the face of what he called an ‘invasion’ of Crimea by Russian forces.
Speaking about the Crimean vote to leave Ukraine and join Russia, Mr Hague added: “This was a vote in circumstances in which Crimea was occupied by more than 20,000 Russian troops, and indeed the meeting of the Crimean Parliament that announced the referendum was itself controlled by unidentified armed gunmen and took place behind locked doors.”