March 26, 2014 / 2:42 PM / 5 years ago

British PM Cameron warns of energy, trade sanctions against Russia

LONDON, March 26 (Reuters) - Russia will be hit with new European Union sanctions targeting EU-Russian trade flows and its energy, financial services and arms sectors if it invades eastern Ukraine, British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Wednesday.

Cameron detailed the scope of potential future EU sanctions as he prepared to meet a delegation of Ukrainian lawmakers later on Wednesday including Vitaly Klitschko, a senior Ukrainian politician and likely presidential candidate, and Petro Poroshenko, one of Ukraine’s richest men.

Britain has signed up to EU financial and travel sanctions on 33 officials the 28-nation bloc accuses of facilitating the Russian takeover of Crimea. But some British lawmakers and Ukrainians living in Britain want London to go much further.

Cameron rejected such calls, but said it was important to spell out to President Vladimir Putin what the consequences would be if his forces decided to go further into Ukraine.

“In terms of economic sectors and future sanctions were Putin to go further in Ukraine ... it would have to include areas such as energy, financial services, trade, (and) arms,” Cameron told parliament, saying the European Commission had already begun to prepare such measures in case they were needed.

“I do think it’s important to be clear about the next steps and the steps we’d take if Russia was to go into eastern Ukraine and I think those steps should be reserved for if Russia goes into eastern Ukraine rather than brought into place before.”

Cameron’s reluctance to back further action against Russia now is likely to disappoint Ukrainian protesters who were planning to gather near his offices in central London later on Wednesday to press for tougher measures against Moscow.

In a statement released before Cameron’s meeting with Klitschko and Poroshenko, the protesters called on the British leader to impose “harsher, Iran-style sanctions that directly reach the pockets of Putin and those responsible for the aggression in Ukraine”. (Reporting By Andrew Osborn; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

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