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?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine