Get out of Ukraine, UK defence secretary tells Putin

Jul 20, 2014

‘Angry’ prime minister says ‘time to make our power count’

The British government has told Vladimir Putin to "get out of east Ukraine", and accused Russia of "sponsored terrorism" in the wake of the flight MH17 outrage.

Michael Fallon, who was made defence secretary in a cabinet reshuffle week, said of Putin and Moscow-backed rebels' disruptions of investigation: “We have to make it very clear if there is any more interference like this – and it turns out he was behind it – there will be repercussions. He has to be clear the West will act.”

Meanwhile, David Cameron says tighter EU sanctions against Russia could be necessary in the face of the tragedy. Writing in The Sunday Times, the prime minister said it may be "time to make our power, influence and resources count".

Cameron wrote of his “anger that a conflict that could have been stopped by Moscow has been fomented by Moscow” and that some in the West, instead of “finding the resolve to deal with this issue, have simply hoped it would go away”.

The prime minister concluded: “We must turn this moment of outrage into a moment of action.”

However, the Russian ambassador to the UK warned sanctions would have a negative effect on hostilities. Alexander Yakovenko said he regretted recent decisions by the US and EU to impose sanctions, claiming it "can only encourage the Ukrainian authorities to continue violence".

World leaders are piling pressure on Putin to stop armed Moscow-backed rebels from preventing investigators from fully accessing the MH17 crash site. Ten Britons were among the 298 people killed when the Boeing 777 was downed on Thursday over eastern Ukraine.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Read more: