Britain to push EU for ‘hard-hitting’ sanctions on Russia over MH17

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LONDON: British Prime Minister David Cameron said Monday Europe must keep increasing pressure on Russia, warning that he would push the European Union to consider a new range of “hard-hitting” sanctions against Russia.

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“Russia cannot expect to continue enjoying access to European markets, European capital, European knowledge and technical expertise while she fuels conflict in one of Europe’s neighbors,” Cameron told the British Parliament Monday.

He said that Russia faces a “defining moment” in its response to the tragedy of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash.

“The world is watching. And President Putin faces a clear choice in how he decides to respond to this appalling tragedy,” he noted.

In his oral statement, he urged Putin to “find a path out of this festering and dangerous crisis by ending Russia’s support for the separatists.”

“But if he does not change his approach to Ukraine in this way then Europe and the West must fundamentally change our approach to Russia,” he continued.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed Thursday near Grabovo village in eastern Ukraine en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 people aboard.

Cameron told his members of the parliament: “The picture is becoming clearer and the weight of evidence is pointing in one direction: MH17 was shot down by a SA-11 missile fired by separatists.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has reiterated the importance for all sides not to make hasty conclusions and politicized statements until the investigation of the Malaysian airliner crash is over, the Kremlin press service said on Sunday.

Andrei Kartopolov, Russian chief of the main operative department of the General Staff, told a news briefing Monday that Russia had not handed Buk systems or other kinds of weapons or military hardware to the pro-independence militants in Ukraine.

He questioned Ukraine over its deployment of Buk anti-aircraft systems not far from the crash site of the Malaysian passenger jet, asking the United States to make public its relevant satellite pictures. PNA

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