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.”