Sunday, 23 March 2014

Ukraine, Putin, Russia, and Crimea

The steps taken by President Putin on 18 March to attempt to annex Crimea to Russia are in flagrant breach of international law and send a chilling message across the continent of Europe.

The choice remains for President Putin: take the path of de-escalation or face increasing isolation and tighter sanctions.

Preparatory work is now underway for a third tier of European Union sanctions, including economic and trade measures.

The Government has cancelled this year's French, Russian, UK, US naval exercise, and suspended a proposed Royal Navy ship visit to St Petersburg.

The Government believes that under current circumstances there is a compelling case for EU member states to act on defence export licences.

The UK will now with immediate effect suspend all extant licences and application processing for licences for direct export to Russia for military and dual use items destined for units of the Russian armed forces or other state agencies which could be or are being deployed against Ukraine.

The European Council will consider further measures later this week in the light of President Putin’s speech on 18 March and Russian’s actions in recent days.

The British Government is clear that further measures need to be taken.

The Government regrets that the Russian Federation has been unwilling to engage constructively in resolving this crisis.