West warns Russia of more sanctions over Ukraine
Western nations sent a firm message to Russia at this weekend's G20 summit that it must stop its "unacceptable" meddling in Ukraine or face further 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 hail 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 warned 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.
He added: "I think President Putin can see that he is at a crossroads.
If he continues to destabilise Ukraine, there will be further sanctions.
" - Handshake tiff -The warnings from Obama and Cameron came after Putin jetted out of Brisbane before the G20's final communique was released, in an unusual move that came after a series of tense exchanges about Ukraine.
The bluntest took place on Saturday, when Putin approached Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to shake hands, only to be told by Harper: "Well, I guess I'll shake your hand, but I only have one thing to say to you -- you need to get out of Ukraine.
"The United States, Australia and Japan early Sunday demanded justice for the victims of a Malaysia Airlines jet allegedly downed by pro-Russian rebels in July.
The three countries' leaders said after talks in Brisbane that they were united in "opposing Russia's purported annexation of Crimea and its actions to destabilise eastern Ukraine, and bringing to justice those responsible for the downing of Flight MH17".
The joint call was issued in a statement after tripartite talks between Obama and prime ministers Tony Abbott of Australia and Shinzo Abe of Japan.
The West says the plane was shot down by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, using a missile supplied by Russia.
Moscow angrily denies any links to the disaster, which claimed 298 lives including 38 Australian citizens and residents.
In his final news conference closing the G20 summit, Abbott said he had "very robust" discussions with Putin in recent days, and described the MH17 incident as "one of the most terrible atrocities of recent times".
French President Francois Hollande -- whose government has delayed handing over two warships to Russia because of the Ukraine crisis -- was more conciliatory, saying he wanted to resolve the situation and not aggravate it.
"At the same time, I said to President Putin, there have to be signals, gestures.
If there are no gestures or signals, a strength of will, then France will have to take new decisions," he said.
© 2014 AFP