West to step up response to Russia’s ‘violation’ of Ukraine



European Union leaders are expected to move towards deeper economic sanctions against Moscow today, acting on mounting evidence of what the Nato chief has called a “blatant violation” of Ukrainian territory by Russian soldiers.

The UK will argue that Russia should be excluded from the Swift international banking system which will further disrupt Russian trade, a British official said.

Some EU politicians openly accused Russia of invading its neighbour, after Nato on Thursday released satellite imagery to back up claims that around 1,000 Russian troops are in Ukraine and providing support to separatist rebels fighting to create a breakaway state in the east.

“Despite Moscow’s hollow denials, it is now clear that Russian troops and equipment have illegally crossed the border into eastern and south-eastern Ukraine,” the Nato Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said after an emergency meeting of the alliance yesterday. “Russian forces are engaged in direct military operations inside Ukraine.”

He said the Kremlin was also still providing tanks, artillery and rocket launchers to separatist forces. “Moreover, Russia continues to maintain thousands of combat-ready troops close to Ukraine’s border: this is a blatant violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”


Russia has denied the claims, and yesterday President Vladimir Putin compared a Ukrainian government offensive to seize back rebel-held territory to “the events of the Second World War, when German fascists... surrounded our cities”.


Since April, the pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government troops have been locked in battle over key cities across the eastern industrial heartland. A UN report yesterday estimated that nearly 2,600 people had been killed. Fighting escalated this week when separatist forces opened a new front in the eastern town of Novoazovsk.

Officials in Kiev said yesterday 10 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in fresh fighting. The Ukrainian Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, said the country was planning to end its non-aligned status and apply for membership of Nato.

Any such move would further antagonise Russia, which is desperate to maintain its influence in the former Soviet bloc. But Mr Rasmussen said Nato would respect the decision by the Ukrainian parliament should it decide to move towards full membership.

The military alliance is also expected to announce plans for a rapid reaction force to assist its current members at its summit in Wales on Thursday and Friday, part of Nato’s beefed- up response to Russia’s recent aggression on Europe’s borders. Mr Rasmussen’s comments came a day ahead of a meeting of EU heads of government in Brussels, with Ukraine high on the agenda. In July, the 28 member states overcame considerable internal splits and imposed some sanctions on Russia’s defence and energy industries. The US took similar measures, while dozens of Ukrainians and Russians are also under travel bans and assets freezes.

However, the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, conceded that those sanctions have had little impact on Mr Putin. David Cameron is expected to go into the EU meeting today pushing for even harsher measures targeting the energy, defence and financial sectors.

The Swedish Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt, said “we must call a spade a spade” and said the Russian actions over the past few days represented “the second Russian invasion of Ukraine within a year”. In March, Russian troops entered and annexed Crimea.

Shoppers at Selfridges department store in central London

Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleFormer Newsnight presenter is being touted for a brand new role
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
voicesAnd nobody from Ukip said babies born to migrants should be classed as migrants, says Nigel Farage
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
i100(More than you think)
Brendan Rodgers seems more stressed than ever before as Liverpool manager
FOOTBALLI like Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
The Magna Carta
archaeologyContemporary account of historic signing discovered
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
Benjamin Stambouli celebrates his goal for Tottenham last night
Life and Style
Dishing it out: the head chef in ‘Ratatouille’
food + drinkShould UK restaurants follow suit?
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
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

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - OOP, Javascript, HTML, CSS, SQL

£39000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - OOP, Javascript, HTML,...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial / Residential Property - Surrey


Recruitment Genius: Graduate Programme - Online Location Services Business

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: What do you want to do with your career? Do yo...

Recruitment Genius: Senior QC Scientist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is a leading expert in immunoassa...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game