David Cameron has said Europe cannot turn a blind eye to Russia's intervention in Ukraine, as he warned Vladimir Putin that he could face sanctions that would have unacceptable financial and economic consequences for his country for many years to come, Censor.NET reports citing The Guardian.
Speaking at the Rolls-Royce car factory in Goodwood, West Sussex, the prime minister also warned that British business would have to face the consequences of a disrupted Russian export market, and argued that it was in its long-term interest to have a stable and secure Russia.
Cameron said there was a temptation for every European country to leave the responsibility for dealing with what is happening in Ukraine to someone else, but said: "That would be a terrible mistake, so Britain has been leading the argument that Russia's behaviour has been completely unacceptable, and consequences have to follow in terms of sanctions."
He added: "In Ukraine, one country is effectively challenging the territorial integrity of another country because those Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine are using Russian rocket launchers, Russian tanks and Russian artillery. You cannot buy this equipment on eBay. It comes from Russia. We have to be very firm it will have economic and financial consequences for many years to come if you do not desist."
The prime minister said he knew it caused British business some concern and that it might take a short-term hit, but added: "We must not allow people to cause instability and bully their neighbours."
Taking questions at a PM Direct event, he also rejected an immediate referendum on European membership, saying: "That is a better choice than having an in-out referendum tomorrow."
He wanted "a proper go at trying to get something better" in Britain's relations with the EU.