John Oliver has spoken on the Ukraine crisis as part of his latest segment on Last Week Tonight, calling Vladimir Putin an “autocrat” and “a huge bitch”.
Following the Russian president’s attack on the country last week, Ukraine has severed diplomatic ties with its neighbour and declared martial law, while many Ukrainians are trying to escape the warzone.
As of Sunday night (February 27), Ukraine’s interior ministry reported that 352 Ukrainian civilians had been killed in the conflict so far, including 14 children, while a further 1684 people, including 116 children, had been wounded (via The Guardian).
Speaking on yesterday evening’s (February 27) Last Week Tonight, Oliver played a clip of Putin in conversation with the director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, Sergey Naryshkin, where the latter becomes increasingly intimidated by the Russian president while calling for more diplomacy.
“Putin is a lot of things,” Oliver replied. “He’s an autocrat. He’s a tyrant. He’s a warmonger. But he’s also kind of a huge bitch.
“Unfortunately for that guy, he clearly forgot the best strategy for public speaking in Russia which is, just imagine the entire audience in their underwear, and Vladimir Putin pointing a pistol at your head. It really focuses the mind.”
The presenter went on: “What Russia is doing in Ukraine is completely indefensible. You cannot make a case for what is happening.”
The segment also saw Oliver criticise former US president George W Bush, who said in response to the crisis: “I join the international community in condemning Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine.”
Implying Bush’s involvement in the Iraq War, Oliver said: “Hold on, George. Not from you. You are not the guy for this one. Because that statement only would have made sense if it ended with, ‘Oh shit, now I hear it. Sorry. I’ll shut the fuck up now.’”
Since the crisis began last week, a number of artists have spoken out in support of Ukraine, including Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks, who said her “heart was broken” and compared Putin to Hitler. Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos shared a tribute to the “open and welcoming” people of Kyiv, while Foals honoured the Ukrainian crew of their recent ‘2am’ video. Miley Cyrus, Yungblud and Elton John have also shared statements of solidarity with the Ukrainian people.
Ukraine borders both Russia and the European Union, and Russia has long resisted Ukraine’s move towards embracing European institutions such as NATO and the EU, according to the BBC.
Putin has been demanding guarantees from the West and Ukraine that the country will not join NATO, and that Ukraine demilitarises and become a neutral state.
You can donate to the Red Cross to help those affected by the conflict.