Ukraine crisis: UK ministers to boycott Paralympics in response to Russia’s ‘declaration of war’

William Hague has travelled to Kiev today, and the UK’s involvement in Sochi-based G8 summit talks has been suspended

David Cameron has announced that British government ministers will be boycotting Russia’s 2014 Sochi Winter Paralympics, which open on Friday, in the wake of the ongoing international crisis in Ukraine.

Writing on his official Twitter account, the Prime Minister said: "Because of the serious situation in Ukraine, (Foreign Secretary) William Hague and I believe it would be wrong for UK Ministers to attend the Sochi Paralympics."

It was not immediately clear what this might mean for Britain's 15 ParalympicsGB athletes, but represents a strong statement given the UK's reputation, with Stoke Mandeville in Aylesbury, as the birthplace of the Paralympic games.

The announcement came as Mr Hague said the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine had been "violated" and called for Moscow to speak directly to the nation's new leaders.

International pressure is mounting on President Vladimir Putin after Russia yesterday authorised the mobilisation of troops in Ukraine, whose acting prime minister has described recent developments as a "declaration of war" - but so far Mr Putin has ignored the widespread international condemnation of his country's aggression.

 

Mr Hague was due to attend G8 discussions in the Black Sea resort paving the way for a summit in June, but the UK has now suspended its cooperation with the process.

Speaking from RAF Northolt as he was about to board a plane to Kiev, he said: "We have to recognise the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Ukraine has been violated and this cannot be the way to conduct international affairs and so, in addition to calling yesterday's emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, the United Kingdom will join other G8 countries this week in suspending our cooperation under the G8, which Russia chairs this year, including the meetings this week for the preparation of the G8 summit.

"We will keep our approach to further G8 meetings under review."

Read more: Ukraine 'on the brink of war'
'I am convinced Yulia Tymoshenko is a real heroine'
Comment: Nato 'betrayal' pushing Putin to act
Editorial: restraint on all sides is necessary

Ukraine's new prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, today called on Mr Putin to pull back his troops, warning "we are on the brink of disaster", while Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen urged Moscow to calm the "dangerous" situation.

Mr Hague, who will meet Ukraine's interim leaders in the country's capital, added: "I think we will see increasingly over the coming days the very strong concerns of the world by many, many nations and I hope that that direct communication between the two countries will be able to take place.

"Our response is diplomatic and peaceful and it should be. That is our response but it will be a very united diplomatic response and not just from the Western world, I think, but from many other countries in the world and that is something that Russia will have to think hard about."

Meanwhile, hundreds of British-based Ukrainians gathered outside the Russian Embassy in London today to protest against the build-up of troops in the Crimea region.

The demonstrators chanted and held banners reading: "Hands off Ukraine".

Many of them waved placards accusing President Vladimir Putin of being the "Russian aggressor" and chanted: "Stop the occupation."

Bogdan Maksak, a 20-year-old Ukrainian studying accounting and finance at City University London, attended the protest to call on Britain to uphold its commitment under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum and take action against Russia.

The agreement, signed by the UK, US, Russia and Ukraine, promised to uphold the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

Mr Maksak said: "I would like to ask the British Government to assist Ukraine and also keep its promises of the Budapest Memorandum.

"They have to make sure that we are protected and they also have to take action because at this stage staying neutral is almost like playing on the Russian side."

Additional reporting by PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
News
Tottenham legend Jimmy Greaves has defended fans use of the word 'Yid'
people
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West, performing in New York last week, has been the subject of controversy as rock's traditional headline slot at Glastonbury is lost once again
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

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

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living