BRISBANE, Australia (AFP) – Western nations sent a firm message to Russia at this weekend’s G20 summit that its “unacceptable” meddling in Ukraine must stop or Moscow will face further economic sanctions, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Sunday.
Cameron and US President Barack Obama hammered home the West’s determination to curb Russia’s actions in Ukraine at the summit in Brisbane, where President Vladimir Putin faced a barrage of criticism from fellow leaders.
The Russian strongman acknowledged that “some of our views do not coincide”. But he insisted at a press briefing that the G20 discussions as a whole were “complete, constructive and very helpful”.
With relations between the West and Moscow at their lowest ebb since the Cold War, Obama said Russia’s isolation would only deepen if it refused to change course.
If Putin “continues down the path that he is on, violating international law, providing heavy arms to the separatists in Ukraine…. then the isolation that Russia is currently experiencing will continue”, the US leader told reporters after the summit.
He said Washington wanted to welcome Russia back to the international fold but core principles were at stake.
“One of those principles is that you don’t invade other countries or finance proxies and support them in ways that break up a country that has mechanisms for democratic elections,” he said.
Cameron said the West would maintain its campaign for years if need be, because the alternative was allowing the Ukraine crisis to develop into “some permanent frozen conflict on the continent of Europe”.
“What has been good about this G20 is that a very clear message has been delivered by the countries of the European Union and America to Russia about how we’re going to approach this in the months and years ahead,” Cameron said.