LONDON (Reuters) – Britain accused Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday of acting like a “tyrant” over Ukraine, but said Kiev’s forces could not defeat Russia’s army on the battlefield and that only a political solution could end the bloodshed.
“Ukrainians can’t beat the Russian army, that’s not a practical proposition. There has to be a political solution,” Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told Sky News.
“This man (Putin) has sent troops across an international border and occupied another country’s territory in the 21st century acting like some mid-20th century tyrant. Civilised nations do not behave like that,” he added.
Russia denies Western and Ukrainian accusations that it is actively supporting pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine by sending regular troops and weapons into the region.
Hammond’s robust comments came a day after Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel said sending arms to help Ukraine combat the separatists would not solve the crisis there, drawing sharp rebukes from US politicians.
Hammond said Britain itself was not planning to arm Kiev’s forces but spoke out strongly in favour of renewing European Union economic sanctions on Russia.