During a special BBC Question Time devoted to the war in Ukraine, Helle Thorning-Schmidt said “of course” the UK is not leading the effort against Russia”, suggesting it is, in fact, the EU.
It comes in response to remarks made by Nadhim Zahawi, the education secretary.
Mr Zahawi was answering a question about the refugee crisis when he said Russia “sees the UK as leading the coordination effort”, and referred to the UK’s supplying of arms.
Ms Thorning-Schmidt said she “almost chuckled” when the Conservative cabinet minister claimed the UK is “leading” against Russia.
Ms Thorning-Schmidt, who was Danish PM between 2011 and 2015, said: “You said something that almost made me chuckle when you said that Putin will think the UK is leading the efforts against Russia right now.
“Of course it’s not, the European Union is leading the effort against Russia.
“I don’t think they will see Boris Johnson as a particular leader in this field, so set that straight.”
Mr Zahawi responded, saying “it should be a team effort”.
Ms Thorning-Schmidt replied: “You said Russia will see the UK as a leader, I don’t know why they would do that.”
In response to the former PM’s comments, reporter Christian Calgie blamed “UK-hating” liberals whose “brains have been rotted by Brexit”.
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Some have also received employment, social welfare and housing.
The majority are seeking refuge in Poland, Hungary and Slovakia, while many have been forced to flee to Russia.
On March 9, Boris Johnson told MPs that “almost 1,000 visas” had been issued to Ukrainians so far and that he expects “those numbers to rise to in the region of hundreds of thousands”.
The Government has now said, from March 15, applications from Ukrainian passport holders can be made entirely online, meaning applicants will no longer need to visit a visa application centre in person.
They will need to prove that they have the necessary familial links to the UK, but won’t have to show English language capabilities or proof of income, as would normally be the case.