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Ukraine crisis: Russia will face diplomatic, political and economic pressure says Prime Minister David Cameron

By David Hughes and Gavin Cordon

Russia will face diplomatic, political, and economic pressure in response to its violation of Ukraine's sovereignty, David Cameron has said.

The Prime Minister, who chaired a meeting of the National Security Council to discuss the crisis, said that the world needed to send a "clear message" to Moscow.

Speaking in Downing Street, he said: "What we want to see is a de-escalation rather than a continuation down the path that the Russian government has taken, violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of another country.

"So we shall have to bring to bear diplomatic, political, economic and other pressures in order to make this point.

"That is the very clear message the whole world needs to send to the Russian government."

Mr Cameron's intervention came amid reports that the commander of the Russian Black Sea fleet had issued an ultimatum to Ukrainian forces in the Crimea to surrender by 5 am (3am GMT) tomorrow or face attack.

The Russian defence ministry was subsequently quoted as dismissing the claims - emanating from Ukrainian defence sources - as "utter nonsense", but the reports did nothing to lessen the sense of deepening crisis.

Speaking in No 10, Mr Cameron said the reports were "deeply concerning", adding that "we all want to see stability and countries obeying the rule of law".

The Prime Minister said: "What matters now is that a very clear message is sent from across the world to the people of the Ukraine that we want to allow you to choose your own future; and an equally clear message to the Russian government that continuing down this path of violating the sovereignty of another country will have costs and consequences.

"The whole world needs to come together to deliver that message, it's important that the UN is at the forefront of that message which is why I spoke to secretary general Ban Ki-moon.

"And we also need to do everything we can to get the Russian and Ukrainian governments to talk to each other about their future."

There was a similar message from Foreign Secretary William Hague after attending talks in Kiev with the beleaguered interim Ukrainian prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

"If Russia cannot be persuaded to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, there will have to be other consequences and other costs. I am not going to set out today what all of those are. We will act in a united way with other nations in the world," he said.

"Russia should be in no doubt about this. This is something that we take very seriously, that we have to take very seriously, because if this becomes the normal way of behaving in the world, of intruding upon and violating the sovereignty of neighbours, then clearly that would be an even bigger crisis in international affairs."

The Foreign Secretary, who described the situation following the deployment of thousands of Russian troops into the Crimean peninsula as "the biggest crisis in Europe in the 21st century", expressed concern at the potential for further escalation.

"Clearly we are very concerned about any possibility of a further move by Russia in other parts of Ukraine," he said.

"There are Ukrainian forces as well as Russian forces in Ukraine. There is a constant risk of miscalculation, of a flashpoint arising there (the Crimea) or in other parts of Ukraine."

The Foreign Secretary will update MPs on the situation in a Commons statement tomorrow.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Mr Hague, Mr Yatsenyuk denounced the Russian incursion as "illegal" and called on Moscow to withdraw its forces. He insisted the new administration in Kiev represented no threat to Russian nationals in the country.

"It is crystal clear that Russia invaded Ukrainian territory with no reason at all. We will protect the rights of minorities," he said.

"Every Russian citizen is under the protection of the state of Ukraine. There wasn't anybody who was killed or shot or injured in Crimea except Ukrainian soldiers."

However Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov insisted Russian troops needed to defend ethnic Russians - who account for almost 60% of the population of Crimea - until "the normalisation of the political situation" in Ukraine.

"We are talking here about protection of our citizens and compatriots, about protection of the most fundamental of the human rights - the right to live and nothing more," he said.

Mr Lavrov, who was speaking at the opening a United Nations Human Rights Council session in Geneva, dismissed criticisms of the Russian action claiming Moscow had received information relating to "preparations for new provocations" including against the Russian Black Sea fleet which is based in Crimea.

"Those who are trying to interpret the situation as a sort of aggression and threatening us with sanctions and boycotts, these are the same partners who have been consistently and vigorously encouraging the political powers close to them to declare ultimatums and renounce dialogue,"Mr Lavrov said.

 "We call upon them to show a responsibility and to set aside geopolitical calculations and put the interests of the Ukrainian people above all."

Further reading

Ukraine crisis: Russia 'demands two Ukrainian warships must surrender' amid 'biggest Europe crisis in 21st century' 

 

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