Ukraine crisis: David Cameron joins Angela Merkel in expressing anxiety and warns that ‘the world is watching’


Britain was at the forefront of the diplomatic response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine on Saturday, as Western leaders scrambled to react to Vladimir Putin’s decisive manoeuvres.

On Saturday night, the United Nations Security Council convened its second meeting in 24 hours over the crisis in Ukraine, at the behest of the UK. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, urged both sides not to “escalate tensions” and added: “The world is watching.”

The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, who is set to visit Kiev to meet the country’s interim government, said that the UK condemned “any act of aggression” against the country.

“I am deeply concerned at the escalation of tensions in Ukraine, and the decision of the Russian parliament to authorise military action on Ukrainian soil against the wishes of the government. This action is a potentially grave threat to the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” he said.

In Berlin, the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, also stressed the importance of “preserving the territorial integrity” of Ukraine. “What is happening in Crimea worries us.”

On a day of frenetic diplomatic activity, Mr Hague spoke to the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, to “urge steps to calm this dangerous situation”. He also highlighted Britain’s support of the new Ukraine government’s request for discussions around the 1994 Budapest Memorandum signed by the UK, US, Russia and Ukraine promising to uphold Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

The Russian ambassador to the UK was called to the Foreign Office in order to hear Britain’s concerns over developments.

Read more:Ukraine vows to fight after Russia says yes to invasion
Moscow catches the world off guard
How far will president Putin go to keep his hands on Crimea?
Comment: No wonder Putin says Crimea is Russian
Election monitors will be under extreme pressure
Editorial: We don’t want a war with Russia

Mr Hague also spoke with the German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, both agreeing on the “need for international diplomatic action to address the crisis”. An emergency meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels is also set for tomorrow.

A Kremlin spokesman insisted that Moscow hoped there would be “no further escalation” of events in Ukraine.

British MPs with expertise in foreign affairs called for strong diplomatic action against Russia, particularly following Moscow’s dismissive response to Friday’s UN Security Council meeting, in which Ukraine accused it of moving troops into Crimea.

Dr Liam Fox, a former defence secretary and former shadow foreign secretary, said: “Western powers must make clear to Putin that sovereign nations have a right to exercise self-determination without interference.”

Sir Menzies Campbell, a Liberal Democrat member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said: “Mr Putin is simply taking advantage of what would be a reluctance on the part of the EU or Nato or particularly the US to take any other action than seeking to persuade him to pull back.

“Those who talk about sanctions should understand that it would be unlikely that there would be agreement among the EU for such a course of action... The harsh truth is that this is a dilemma for the West which is not going to be easily resolved.”

Lord Ashcroft, the former deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, tweeted: “The reality is that if our Prime Minister ‘warned’ Putin over his actions in Ukraine, Putin could well have a fit of giggles..#realpolitick.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Two christmas trees ,Moonbeam (2L), Moonchester (2R) and Santa Claus outside the Etihad Stadium
footballAll the action from today's games
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas