Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: EU should 'reconsider its links with Russia,' says David Cameron

British PM urges other leaders to confront Moscow over the shooting down of aircraft

The European Union should "reconsider its approach to Russia" in the light of evidence that pro-Russian separatists brought down flight MH17 with a missile, Downing Street said last night.

David Cameron held a telephone conversation with his Dutch counterpart, Mark Rutte, yesterday in which the two men agreed that the EU's relationship with Moscow should be reviewed, a spokesman for the Prime Minister said.

Mr Cameron reportedly said last night: "If President Putin does not change his approach on Ukraine, then Europe and the West must fundamentally change our approach to Russia." He said he wasn't advocating military action, but "it is time to make our power, influence, and resources count".

The intervention marks a major scaling up of the political pressure on Vladimir Putin. The Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, also warned the Russian President yesterday that the "world's eyes are on Russia" and its behaviour in the wake of the Malaysia Airlines disaster which claimed 298 lives.

Read more: West gives Putin 'one last chance' to end hostilities
Pro-Russians accused of blocking access to site of disaster
Vital clues may have been moved, say air crash experts
Comment: In war, it's the civilians who suffer most of all

The EU has already imposed travel sanctions on Russians involved in efforts to destabilise Ukraine.

A No10 spokesman added that Mr Cameron had also spoken to his Australian counterpart, Tony Abbott, and that "all three leaders are clear that President Putin needs to use his influence on the separatists to ensure they allow access to the crash site".

Specialist officers from Scotland Yard are due to arrive in Ukraine today to help with the process of recovering, identifying, and repatriating the bodies of the victims. Six investigators from the UK's Air Accidents Investigation Branch are also working alongside an international team to establish what happened.

Mr Hammond said the first priority for the UK was to ensure that the bodies of the victims are treated with "dignity and respect" as they are recovered from the wreckage.

Investigators have repeatedly been denied access to the site, which is under the control of pro-Russian separatists and has still not been properly secured. Mr Hammond said there was a "growing body of evidence" the plane was brought down by a missile fired by the rebels. "Our focus now is on securing the site so there is a proper international investigation to identify the cause and the perpetrators and bring them to justice while making sure the victims [get] the proper dignity and respect," the Foreign Secretary said. "We're not getting enough support from the Russians, we're not seeing Russia using their influence effectively enough to get the separatists, who are in control of the site, to allow the access that we need.

"This is not about Russia and the West, this is about the whole community demanding that proper access is made available to this site, the victims properly recovered, and evidence is secured. The world's eyes will be on Russia to see if she delivers on her obligations in the next couple of hours."

He added that Alexander Yakovenko, the Russian ambassador to the UK, would be summoned to the Foreign Office and made aware of the Government's views. "We are demanding the Russians use their influence to ensure that access is granted. That's the only way we can get to the truth and bring those accountable to justice," he said.

A total of 10 British citizens are believed to have died in the disaster, but Mr Hammond said the Government could not be "absolutely certain" that more would not be identified during the investigation.

Three UK victims were named yesterday as John Allen, 44, a world-leading patent lawyer who died with his wife and their three children; Robert Ayley, a 28-year-old father of two who was born in the UK and had settled in New Zealand; and Somerset-born Andrew Hoare, 59, a banker, who died with his Dutch wife and their two children. His brother Hugo Hoare said last night: "He was a warm, funny and wonderful man whose smile and character lit up a room."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
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

£30 - 35k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

Guru Careers: Software Engineer / Software Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software Engineer / Softw...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

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
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
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before