UK minister likens Russia-Ukraine to WWII appeasement: ‘Whiff of Munich in the air’

British defense secretary Ben Wallace compares Western efforts to prevent Russian invasion of Ukraine to failed 1938 agreement with Nazi Germany

Illustrative: Neville Chamberlain, left, and Hitler sealing the Munich pact in September 1938. (Public Domain)
Illustrative: Neville Chamberlain, left, and Hitler sealing the Munich pact in September 1938. (Public Domain)

LONDON — British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has compared Western diplomatic efforts to head off a Russian invasion of Ukraine to the appeasement of Nazi Germany ahead of World War II.

Wallace told the Sunday Times that Russian President Vladimir Putin could send his massed troops into Ukraine “at any time.”

And he suggested unnamed Western countries were not being tough enough with Moscow.

“It may be that he (Putin) just switches off his tanks and we all go home but there is a whiff of Munich in the air from some in the West,” Wallace said.

The 1938 Munich Agreement handed Nazi Germany parts of Czechoslovakia in a failed bid to head off major conflict in Europe.

Western leaders have been shuttling back and forth to Moscow in the hopes of persuading Putin to stand his troops down.

In this handout photo released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, left, and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu greet each other during their meeting in Moscow, Russia, February 11, 2022. (Savitskiy Vadim, Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)

“The worrying thing is that despite the massive amount of increased diplomacy, that military build-up has continued. It has not paused, it has continued,” Wallace said.

Ukrainian soldiers train during military drills close to Kharkiv, Ukraine, on February 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Marienko)

Asked about the Munich comparison on Sunday morning television, fellow British Conservative MP Brandon Lewis said the association with the Nazis was “not the point.”

From left: Italian prime minister Benito Mussolini, German chancellor Adolf Hitler, Paul-Otto Schmidt (translator from German foreign ministry), and British prime minister Neville Chamberlain, Munich Agreement, September 1938. (German Federal Archives via Wikicommons)

Wallace was making “the comparison between the diplomatic attempts in the run up to World War Two and the diplomatic attempts we’re all putting in now,” Lewis said on Sky News.

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