Ukraine crisis: Hague warns of ‘serious consequences’ for Russia over attempts to destabilise its neighbour

Addressing the Lord Mayor’s Easter banquet in London, the Foreign Secretary urges the international community to stand firm in response to Russian aggression

Brussels

The East-West diplomatic row over Ukraine has deepened in tandem with the crisis on the ground, with the US praising the “measured” response by Kiev and Moscow saying it was “deeply concerned” by developments.

William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, warned Russia of “serious long-term consequences” over its attempt to destabilise Ukraine.

Addressing the Lord Mayor’s Easter banquet in London, he urged the international community to stand firm in response to Russian aggression. He said the annexation of Crimea had violated fundamental principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity built up since the Second World War.

“If we do not defend those principles in Ukraine, including over Crimea, they will be threatened elsewhere in Europe and around the world,” he said. “We have to maintain strength and unity and confidence now, or our resolve could be tested even more severely in the future.”

He argued: “We are at a crucial moment in this crisis. Russia must choose whether it is open to diplomacy and de-escalation, and if it decides otherwise, we must be ready for a different state of relations with Russia in the next 10 years than in the last 20.”

Mr Hague accused Moscow of dispatching “armed groups, thinly disguised, to spearhead the occupation of buildings in multiple Ukrainian cities to try permanently to destabilise the country and dictate the terms of its constitution”.

He said: “My message to Moscow is that if anyone thinks they can do these things without serious long-term consequences they are making a grave miscalculation.”

Earlier in the day Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, applauded Kiev’s reaction saying that provocations by pro-Russian separatists had left the Ukrainian government little option but to act.

In Moscow, Konstantin Dolgov, the Russia Foreign Ministry’s representative for human rights, said: “The reports we are getting cause deep concern. To all appearances, events are beginning to develop under the worst-case scenario.”

Nato’s Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the EU must strengthen its military cooperation with Nato. Ahead of a meeting of EU defence ministers, he stressed that evidence showed it was “very clear that Russia’s hand is deeply engaged in this”. Similar accusations were aired by EU foreign ministers a day earlier, but have been strongly denied by Russia.

While Ukraine is not a member of Nato and therefore not under its automatic protection, other EU nations which border Russia are, and there has been discussion of beefing up Nato missions along their borders.

The Polish defence minister, Tomasz Siemoniak, said Nato should send significant numbers of troops to Eastern Europe “Threats are still present in Europe,” he said. “We believe that Nato should not be limited in anything which concerns the security of its members.”

Russia has baulked at Nao’s eastward creep in the past – most notably when Ukraine and Georgia raised the possibility of membership in 2008 – and many European nations are cautious of further antagonising Moscow. Mr Rasmussen said no decision had yet been made on creating military bases in Eastern Europe, but did call for more security readiness from the EU.

The meeting of defence ministers in Luxembourg came a day after the 28 EU foreign ministers tried another stab at diplomatic pressure to convince Moscow to move its troops away from the Ukrainian border, enter negotiations with Kiev, and withdraw threats to send troops into Ukraine under the pretext of protecting ethnic Russians.

If a meeting between the EU, Russia, the US and Ukraine in Geneva tomorrow does not result in any progress, the EU could move onto the next stage of economic sanctions. These could hit sectors including energy, arms and financial services, but would also have economic repercussions for EU nations, causing some caution among member states which would be disproportionately affected.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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

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
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?