Ukraine says 17 killed by shelling in Gorlivka (Horlivka) (Gorlovka)

From – http://news.yahoo.com/ukraine-says-17-killed-shelling-gorlivka-144408064.html

Kiev (AFP) – Seventeen people, including three children, were killed in the past 24 hours by shelling in Ukraine’s rebel-held stronghold of Gorlivka, local Ukrainian officials said on Tuesday.

A statement said that 43 people were also wounded in the city which was observing three days of mourning for 13 civilians including 2 children killed on Sunday by Grad rockets.

Several homes were hit by artillery fire in the town located 45 kilometres (28 miles) north of Donetsk, the statement said.

The top storey of a school was destroyed and several units in a local hospital were also damaged, it added.

The United Nations has criticised the use of heavy weapons by both pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian forces in inhabited areas, and in a report released Monday said more than 1,100 had been killed by fighting since mid-April.

The Kremlin Floats An Exit Strategy

From – http://www.rferl.org/content/power-vertical-putin-exit-strategy/25475752.html

Sometimes it’s a good idea to pay attention to what Andrei Kolesnikov writes.

The “Kommersant” columnist is one of the Kremlin’s anointed court scribes and is often described as President Vladimir Putin’s favorite journalist.

Ben Judah recently wrote, for example, that the Russian president “pays particular attention” to Kolesnikov’s columns, which he enjoys “greatly and always reads right to the end.”

Kolesnikov regularly travels with Putin and is often a conduit for messages from the regime’s inner sanctum to the broader elite. It was in an interview with Kolesnikov in the summer of 2010, on an epic road trip across the Russian Far East in a bright yellow Lada, that Putin strongly hinted that he intended to return to the presidency in 2012 and that pro-democracy protesters should be beaten.

Both of these things happened.

So it didn’t go unnoticed when Kolesnikov wrote on July 29 that Putin was prepared to wash his hands of the separatists in eastern Ukraine if they were indeed proven to be responsible for the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

“If at some point it becomes evident that the insurgents had some connection to this, that would radically change [Putin’s] attitude toward them — even if it was a fatal mistake,” Kolesnikov wrote. “Children who died for nothing, as well as adults and elderly people, this is a red line he will not cross. He will not cover up for those who did this if he knows they did it. He will not have this sin on his soul.”

Kolesnikov’s argument should by no means be taken at face value. Who really believes that Putin is suddenly shocked that the separatists he has been sponsoring could have shot down a civilian airliner? And does anybody really believe civilian deaths are a red line he will never cross?

But Kolesnikov doesn’t write anything by accident. And it’s safe to assume he doesn’t write anything that is not Kremlin-approved. So with his July 29 column, he is clearly either floating a trial balloon or delivering a message from Putin to the elite that a change of policy is imminent.

There are other signals that a change in the Kremlin line may be coming. In an interview with CNN on July 22, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin suggested reports that the rebels in eastern Ukraine thought they had shot down a military aircraft around the same time that MH17 crashed suggested they weren’t really culpable.

“According to them, the people from the east were saying that they shot down a military jet, so if it was shot down a military jet, there was confusion,” Churkin said. “If there was confusion, it was not an act of terrorism.”

Kolesnikov’s column has also provoked a bit of hand wringing in the nationalist press. “Common people who read ‘King Lear’ think that court jesters exist to tell the monarch the truth with a smile on their face,” Yegor Kholmogorov wrote in “Vzglyad.” “The truth is that they are used to tell lies in the monarch’s name. Andrei Kolesnikov is one such person who is close to Putin who set off a storm among journalists who are accustomed to seeing signals every time he sneezes.”

It’s too early to tell whether this was a trial balloon, a signal of a policy shift, or a court jester telling noble lies for the king.

But the column’s timing, on the day when the European Union and the United States announced tough new sanctions against Russia’s financial and energy sectors, was certainly interesting.

It also comes at a time when Russia’s erstwhile defenders in Europe appear to be distancing themselves from the Putin regime — putting additional pressure on the Kremlin.

In a cover story last week titled “Stop Putin Now!” the Hamburg-based weekly “Der Spiegel” said that “52 percent of Germans said they would favor tougher sanctions, even they would lead to the loss of many jobs in Germany.”

According to the article, Germany’s business community, which has close ties to Russia, “has also gotten the message. Although the initial sanctions had few direct consequences for them, many business leaders had warned against sanctions — drawing the ire of the chancellor and other politicians. Now they are changing their position.”

In a July 22 article, Yevgenia Albats, editor of the opposition magazine “Novoye vremya,” or “The New Times,” issued an emotional call to the Russian elite to persuade Putin to change course in Ukraine or be left “without a country.”

“Never before in its post-Soviet history has Russia been in such a horrific position as it is now. All possibilities — from a major war to a junta in the Kremlin — are possible,” Albats wrote, adding that Putin’s “Chekist entourage…has led him not just into a dead end,” but also “into a nightmare in which he will go down in history as someone who has the blood of innocent children on his hands.”

Maybe somebody in high places actually heard her call.

SANCTIONS WILL DAMAGE RUSSIA IF NOT LIFTED QUICKLY

From – http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/R/RUSSIA_SANCTIONS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2014-07-30-13-09-46

MOSCOW (AP) — U.S. and European sanctions against Russia’s energy and finance sectors are strong enough to cause deep, long-lasting damage within months unless Moscow persuades the West to repeal them by withdrawing support for Ukrainian insurgents.

The U.S. and European Union released details Wednesday of new sanctions aimed at hurting Russia’s economy without doing undue damage to their own trade interests, punishment for alleged Russian support for Ukrainian rebels and Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea.

The sanctions go further than earlier penalties – which had largely targeted individuals – by broadly limiting the trade of weapons and of technology that can be used in the oil and military industries. The EU also put its capital markets off-limits to Russian state-owned banks.

The bloc blacklisted three more companies and eight additional individuals, bringing the total to 95 people and 23 entities that have been hit with EU-wide asset freezes and travel bans. They include three close associates of President Vladimir Putin: his former judo partner Arkady Rotenberg, and the two largest shareholders of Bank Rossiya; Yuri Kovalchuk and Nikolai Shamalov.

Experts said the sanctions wouldn’t have a tremendous impact in the short term, but if left in place for months will stifle development in the Russian economy and sap its financial sector. Already, economists have revised downward their predictions for Russian growth this year, with some saying the country will go into recession.

The biggest immediate impact is likely to come from the financial sanctions. U.S. officials said roughly 30 percent of Russia’s banking sector assets would now be constrained by sanctions.

In a first sign of concern, Russia’s central bank said Wednesday that it would support banks targeted by the penalties.

“State-owned banks are the core of the Russian banking system,” said Vladimir Tikhomirov, chief economist at financial services group BCS. He noted the banks are already having trouble raising money. “That would mean their ability to lend to other banks, smaller banks, is going to be more restricted also.”

Last year, about a third of the bonds issued by Russia’s majority state-owned banks – 7.5 billion euros ($10 billion) – were placed in EU financial markets, according to EU officials.

The measures against Russian banks, which exempt short-term borrowing, are meant to inflict just enough pain without causing them to collapse.

“The aim is not to destroy these banks,” said a senior EU official, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity prior to the sanctions’ official announcement. “We do not want them to get into a liquidity crisis.”

Russia’s foreign ministry complained vocally about the sanctions, criticizing the U.S. for “advancing baseless claims” about its role in Ukraine in a “pretentious, prosecutorial manner.” It criticized the EU for allowing its policy to be “dictated by Washington.”

The key will be how long the sanctions stay in place.

In the short term, Russia has low public debt and enough money to support its banks. The lenders themselves have large reserves.

In the longer term, the sanctions could hurt by fostering a climate of uncertainty – something investors loathe. Some foreign investors are likely to stay away from the sanctioned companies.

Already, as the Ukraine crisis deepened, Russia’s central bank has been forced to raise interest rates several times to stabilize the currency as foreign investors sold it off; investors are expected to pull more than $100 billion out of Russia this year. The central bank last raised rates on Friday in anticipation of the latest sanctions.

Rising rates hurt the economy by making borrowing more expensive; VTB bank chairman Mikhail Zadornov told the Financial Times that the company’s retail arm cut new loans to small business by 20 percent in the first half of 2014.

Even ordinary Russians were worried.

“I have some concerns for my own savings,” said Indira Minigazimova, a resident of southern Siberia who was visiting Moscow.

It is less clear what the impact may be of another key sanction: the EU’s block on exports of technology that can be used for oil exploration and economic development. Russia relies heavily on Western expertise, for example in drilling for oil in Arctic regions.

This area has significantly more risk to Western companies – particularly BP and ExxonMobil – that have big investments in Russia. The sanctions were not expected to affect current deals and shareholdings, though it was unclear what the long-term repercussions for investments might be.

EU officials noted the prohibition would target just one-tenth of overall energy tech exports to Russia.

The reaction in Moscow’s stock markets was mixed Wednesday, as investors had sold off shares in Russian companies for the past two weeks, since the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine. Reports last week that the new, tougher sanctions were due had also caused markets to tumble ahead of their formal announcement Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the MICEX benchmark index rose 0.9 percent, mainly thanks to a rise in the shares of companies that were spared sanctions. Shares in VTB Bank, Russia’s second-largest and one of the sanctions targets, were down 1.3 percent.

EU officials emphasized that while the latest measures last for one year, they can be annulled at any time – intended as an incentive for Russia to dial back its support for the Ukrainian rebels.

So far, the sanctions have had little effect on Russia’s actions in Ukraine. If anything, Russia appears to have stepped up its engagement in the conflict in recent weeks, with the U.S. and its allies saying Russia has built up troops along its border with Ukraine and sent heavy weapons to the separatists.

Russia, meanwhile, slapped a ban Wednesday on fruit and vegetable imports from Poland, a vocal supporter of tougher EU penalties. Moscow said the ban was for violations of health regulations and documentation procedures for some Polish produce; Poland accused Moscow of retaliation.

An Associated Press-GfK poll conducted just before the latest expansion of sanctions found 53 percent of Americans felt the U.S. had not gone far enough in sanctioning Russia, up from 41 percent who felt that way in March. A majority also supported expanding sanctions to target the Russian economy, including its energy sector, according to the survey of 1,044 Americans. The expanded sanctions drew rare cross-party support among the American public, with majorities of both Democrats and Republicans backing the move.

Indeed, President Barack Obama announced more sanctions Tuesday against three major Russian banks, and said he would block future technology sales to the oil industry.

Fewer of those polled felt the U.S. ought to provide military or financial support to countries if they are targeted by Russia.

Despite the sanctions, Obama said the West is not entering a Soviet-era standoff with Russia.

“It’s not a new Cold War,” he said.

Educating Their Children Abroad Is the Russian Elite’s Guilty Secret

From – http://www.newsweek.com/2014/08/08/educating-their-children-abroad-russian-elites-guilty-secret-261909.html?utm_content=buffer20ea8&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Lucky Anastasia Zheleznyak. She has secured one of the BBC’s sought-after positions, working as a production assistant at London’s Ellstree Film Studios.

But Zheleznyak isn’t just any Russian expat making her way up the career ladder. She’s the daughter of Duma Deputy Speaker Sergei Zheleznyak, known for his warning of an impending genocide of Russians in Ukraine. Both the United States and the European Union have placed him and other top Russian officials on their sanctions lists, freezing their assets and barring them from entry.

Yet young Zheleznyak, a graduate of the elite American School in Switzerland (Tasis), where annual fees for boarders are €61,714, is under no such restrictions in London. She has one sister with her in the UK, while another is currently at university in Switzerland.

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Zheleznyak, whose hobbies include equestrianism and scuba diving, studied for a degree in international relations at Queen Mary University of London and then worked as an intern for MacDougall’s Fine Arts Auctions, which specialises in Russian art. She wasn’t offered a permanent job there but the firm’s director, William MacDougall, tells Newsweek that any decision on her employment was unrelated to her father’s issues with the rest of the world.

“We would be perfectly happy to employ the daughter or son of a sanctioned individual, as that is still legal in Britain,” he says. “Whatever the merits of sanctions, they do not as yet punish relatives of those concerned.”

What Zheleznyak makes of the annexation of Crimea, which led to her father’s punishment by the US and the EU, is unclear. She did not respond to an interview request. Perhaps she intends to leave her Western European residence, as Vladimir Putin’s daughter Maria did last week when she reportedly fled her Dutch luxury penthouse.

Zheleznyak is not the only offspring of a ­prominent Russian politician enjoying herself in the West. Indeed, ever since dismantling Communism two decades ago, Russian leaders have been sending their children to the West for better educational and career opportunities.

“It’s not good or bad; it’s a personal decision,” says Sergei Khrushchev, the son of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, who lives in Rhode Island. “During the Cold War, it was simply not possible to send your child to live on the enemy side. That’s possible today. And let’s not bring back the Cold War rhetoric. Even then, the Soviet Union didn’t hate the US. Our leaders believed that we’d be more successful than the US, but my father for one was certainly not hostile to the US.”

Neither, argues Khrushchev, are today’s Russian leaders, noting that American leaders would be irked too “if tomorrow Russia tried to support the independence of Rhode Island”.

Whatever its worldview, the Russian elite has adopted a practice common among leaders of emerging nations. Syrian President Bashar al-­Assad attended university in Britain, after being sent here by his father, then-president Hafez al-Assad. So did Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, Muammar’s son, and Pakistani political scion and future prime minister Benazir Bhutto (as well as her son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari). Mahatma Gandhi, the son of an Indian chief minister, received his legal training in London.

Saad Hariri, the son of Lebanese president Rafik Hariri, who went on to become president himself, attended university in the US, as did Pakistani ruler Pervez Musharraf’s son Bilal and King Abdullah of Jordan. Among other graduates of US universities are Gloria Arroyo, the daughter of the president of the Philippines and a future president herself; Kofi Annan, a member of Ghana’s aristocracy and a future UN Secretary-General; Megawati Sukarnoputri, the daughter of Indonesian President Sukarno who was herself later elected president as well.

“Our culture values a Western education more than a local education, probably due to our colonial mentality,” notes Matthew Manotoc, a grandson of Filipino ruler Ferdinand Marcos. Manotoc went to university in the US, as did his mother

And it’s just not a matter of colonial submissiveness. As Prince Asfa-Wossen, the ­European-educated son of the last president of Ethiopia’s Imperial Crown Council observes, foreign leaders send their children to schools and universities in the West “because they want them to get a good education, but also because they identify with the ­values and culture of the West”.

Ethiopia under Emperor Haile Selassie was an undisputed ally of the West. Indeed, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il has so far been largely alone in maintaining an openly hostile attitude to the West even as his son Kim Jong-un enjoyed the benefits of it. The younger Kim attended a Swiss boarding school.

But now Russian leaders are going on a ­collision course with the countries in which their children reside.

“If they so detest the West, if Western society is so inferior, why do they send their kids here?” asks Prince Asfa-Wossen, a graduate of the ­universities of Cambridge and Tübingen in Germany.

“Surely they understand that their children will be exposed to Western values, and as a result, when the children return home, they won’t be as Russian as their parents would like them to be.”

The idea that educating future leaders from other nations will make them more Western has long guided the US and Europe’s generous approach to foreign students of high and low ­parentage but not everyone thinks it works.

“The strategy worked well in imperial Britain, but it doesn’t really work in a post-Cold War era,” explains Dr Christopher Davidson, reader in Middle East Politics at Durham University and an expert on Gulf monarchies. “The children of foreign leaders increasingly live in global elite bubbles like London, interacting only with children of members of the establishment. You see the same people at restaurants in Knightsbridge and Kensington as you do in New York. But they don’t rub shoulders with the proletariat in Manchester. They don’t experience the country.”

The members of this growing young gang are only one degree removed from each other, leaving national hostilities at the doorstep when they arrive, observes Davidson.

Though Gandhi didn’t rate the British society he experienced as a law student, his exposure to it was crucial and helped shape his worldview. But if today’s foreign scions live within their own world in London or New York, the contract may no longer bring much value beyond the young members establishing friendships amongst themselves. “There’s significance in studying abroad and learning from the first world,” says Manotoc, who now lives in Manila. “Eventually returning home is crucial though.”

With concerns growing over Russia’s actions in Ukraine, a non-diplomat might be forgiven for asking whether there isn’t an obvious solution: visa bans on the Western-residing children of anti-Western decision-makers. But countries rarely resort to punishing family members. Besides, says Davidson, “it will never happen. These bubbles are a huge source of income.”

As far as Khrushchev is concerned, the West shouldn’t be too confident of its attractiveness to young Russians. “My grandchildren have decided they want to live in Moscow,” he reports. “They say the US is boring.”

Russia Sanctions Spread Pain From Putin to Halliburton

From – http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-29/energy-companies-gear-up-for-more-pain-in-russia-with-sanctions.html

U.S. and European Union sanctions against Russia’s Vladimir Putin threaten to shut off some of the world’s largest energy companies from one of the biggest untapped energy troves on the planet.

As violence escalates in eastern Ukraine between government and separatist forces, the EU yesterday sought to punish Russia for its involvement by restricting exports of deep-sea drilling and shale-fracturing technologies. The U.S. followed suit, with President Barack Obama announcing a block on specific goods and technologies exported to the Russian energy sector.

“Because we’re closely coordinating our actions with Europe, the sanctions we’re announcing today will have an even bigger bite,” Obama told reporters yesterday at the White House. “Russia’s energy, financial and defense sectors are feeling the pain.”

Russia Can Build Own Mistral Warships, Rogozin Says

From – http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/504343.html

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin on Wednesday said that the latest U.S. sanctions demonstrate fear on the part of Russia’s adversaries, and that Russia can build its own Mistral warships if France fails to deliver the two vessels.

On Tuesday, the U.S. announced a new round of sanctions that target, among other things, Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation, an industry conglomerate that controls Russia’s network of shipbuilding enterprises. The sanctions, which are aimed at punishing Russia over its alleged involvement in the Ukraine crisis, freeze any assets the shipbuilder might hold in the United States and bans all U.S. transactions with it, Reuters reported.

“Obama’s decision to impose sanctions against the United Shipbuilding Corporation is a clear sign that Russian military shipbuilding is becoming a problem for Russia’s enemies,” Rogozin said on Twitter.

Rogozin later told RIA Novosti that Russia could build its own Mistral-class amphibious assault carriers if France ends up reneging on a deal worth 1.2 billion euros ($1.7 billion) that the two sides signed in 2011. Under the agreement France is to build two of the vessels with the participation of Russian engineers, who would later build another two ships in Russia.

France has already built the first ship, the Sevastopol, and is due to deliver it to the Russian navy by the end of the year. The second ship, the Vladivostok, will be delivered in late 2015 or early 2016.

Other Western governments have asked France to pull the plug on the deal amid increasing tensions in Ukraine, but Paris has so far shown no willingness to bow to pressure.

Russia’s naval buildup is reaching fever pitch, with 50 new warships slated to join the fleet by the end of the year, while several new submarines are under construction as part of a $700 billion military rearmament program through 2020.

Separatists’ Faults May Give Putin A Way Out

From – http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/504342.html

Russia may finally have a pretext for bailing out on Ukrainian separatists. But the pretext is not sanctions — it’s ethics. Still, the idea will be highly difficult for President Vladimir Putin to transmit, as there are few people who can take the moral high ground in the Russian establishment.

Putin, by popular admission, is caught between a rock and a hard place over eastern Ukraine. His backing of separatists there has earned him record ratings at home, but is increasingly alienating the West — a luxury that Russia, whose stagnating economy is heavily reliant on foreign trade, can ill afford.

But the Kremlin may denounce the separatists, despite their domestic popularity, if an international investigation proves that they shot down a Malaysia Airlines jet over rebel-controlled area earlier this month, prominent journalist Andrei Kolesnikov said Tuesday. “The children, the elderly people and adults slain for nothing are for him … a red line he would not cross,” Kolesnikov, known as “Putin’s favorite journalist,” said of the president in a surprisingly unequivocal op-ed on Kommersant FM radio that set pundits and bloggers in Russia abuzz.

“Yes, Vladimir Putin will renounce them,” Kolesnikov, the star of the presidential pool who has been following Putin from day one, said of the people he calls “resistance fighters” and whom Western politicians slam as terrorists. This is nothing short of a cop-out, given that the Russian leader has hardly been fazed by violence in the past. The deaths of more than 180 children in a bloody siege of a Beslan school seized by jihadi in 2004 is proof enough, but there is also the long history of atrocities during the two wars in Chechnya and the widespread and often disturbing police violence at home. Separatists’ track record on human rights, even before the Malaysia Airlines crash, was less than stellar. There is a war going on in Ukraine, and Putin can’t possibly have only realized it now.

But, regardless of whatever face-saving rhetoric Moscow wants to shroud the crash in, it is in Russia’s interests to have sanctions lifted, and the verdict of an international investigation into the disaster might prove to be a handy way out. Of even more interest, however, is the medium used to vent the idea, and what it says about the Russian leadership.

Few publications have a more impressive track record of criticizing Putin’s regime than the Kommersant publishing house. For years, it got away with pointing out the Kremlin’s mistakes and giving a voice to the opposition. Its professional reputation suffered after pro-Putin tycoon Alisher Usmanov purchased it in 2006, but it still retained a certain level of independence. The same could be said of Kolesnikov: Though his affiliation with Putin explains why his op-ed was widely understood as channeling the Kremlin and not just speculation, his ironic reports have always refrained from the sycophantic tone typical of state media coverage of Putin.

The Kremlin has never before needed outsiders to make its public statements. Policy suggestions could always be floated via loyal ministers, subservient lawmakers or the vast media empire comprising television channels with audiences in the millions, radio stations, newspapers, news agencies and public think tanks on a state payroll. Any of those could have said what Kommersant wrote, and yet the job was outsourced to a once-critical newspaper.

The problem is that none of the units in the Kremlin’s public empire are fit to take a moral stance. Most ruling elites worldwide are pretty weak on ethics, but Russia’s has been especially egregious in this regard. Lawmakers and state officials have tacitly and even ardently backed the Kremlin’s most outrageous initiatives — curbing freedoms, fanning homophobia, using orphans for PR gains. The state media deal in blunt propaganda, not journalism. And Putin himself spent 14 years building an image of a strong leader, not an ethical one. If the war ends because Putin denounces the separatists as immoral, it will be hypocrisy serving a good cause. But the very eyebrows raised by this excuse also show that the crisis of Russian leadership is, at heart, an ethical one — and that perhaps it is time to begin scaling back the cynicism on which the Kremlin has built its ideology.

Britain will not start World War Three over Ukraine, David Cameron says

From – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/david-cameron/11000431/Britain-will-not-start-World-War-Three-over-Ukraine-David-Cameron-says.html


David Cameron has said that fresh sanctions against Russia were part of an effort by the West to ratchet up the pressure on President Vladimir Putin and force him to change cours

Britain is not going to start World War Three over Russia’s involvement in Ukraine, David Cameron has said.

The Prime Minister compared Russia’s behaviour in Ukraine to Germany’s before both break out of the First and Second world wars.
Mr Cameron said then that Britain was “not about to launch a European war, we are not about to send the fleet to the Black Sea”.

But Mr Cameron said the West had to draw a line or Russia would start to put similar pressure on European Union countries on the eastern fringes of the Continent like Romania.
He said that fresh sanctions against Russia were part of an effort by the West to ratchet up the pressure on President Vladimir Putin and force him to change course.

The Prime Minister was asked what the British government can do to help stop Putin and support Ukraine during a question and answer session with staff at the headquarters of United Utilities in Warrington.
He answered by alluding to the lessons Britain learned about dealing with Germany’s aggression before the two World Wars.

Mr Cameron said: “Where do you want to start? I think of all we need to be clear about what is happening on our Continent.

“This year we are commemorating the 100th anniversary of the First World War and that war was about the right of a small country Belgium not to be trampled on by its neighbours.

“We had to learn that lesson all over again in the Second World War when the same thing happened to Poland, Czechoslovakia and other countries. In way this is what we are seeing today in Europe.”
He said that Ukraine was a country that was recognised by the United Nations which “has a right not to have its territorial integrity impuned by Russia”.

He added: “Yet that is what we are seeing. There is no doubt in my mind that it is Russian money, it is Russian people, it is Russian weapons that are being sent in to that country to help the separatists fight their battle against the Ukrainian government.

“We saw the tragic result of that with the shooting down of MH17, the Malaysian airlines flight. We can’t be 100 per cent certain yet that it was a separatist firing a Russian built weapon but it looks by far the most likely explanation.

“So we have seen an appalling loss of life and we have to ask ourselves – what more can we do? We are not about to launch a European war, we are not about to send the fleet to the Black Sea, we are not looking for a military confrontation, but what we should do is use the economic power that we have.”

The European Union and the USA were determined to act because if they did nothing Russia would try to destabilise other eastern European countries like Romania.

He said: “The European Union and the United States of America to demonstrate to Russia that what Russia is doing is unacceptable – unacceptable to the Ukraine,.

“[It is] also unacceptable because if we stood back and did nothing tomorrow they would be destablising countries in the Baltic states, destabilising Romania, the neighbours of Russia will start to feel the pressure of what Putin is doing.”

Mr Cameron said that he felt the economic pressure would work because “in the end Russia needs Europe and America more than America and Europe need Russia.

“Yes of course many European countries buy gas and oil from Russia, yes of course we benefit from inward investment by Russian businesses and people into the United Kingdom.

“But frankly in Europe and America we are stronger if we stand together if we say ‘if you carry on like this we are going to make it harder for you by putting in place sanctions’.

“We need to turn up that pressure until Russia decides to behave like any civilised country and allow Ukraine to choose its own future.

“It will be a tightening of the ratchet unless Mr Putin changes his approach and there is still time for him to do that.”