On arrival at the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels today, Minister for Europe, the Rt. Hon. David Lidington MP, echoed the Foreign Secretary, William Hague’s, comments earlier today and said:
What I’m hoping is that with our partners we can agree today, first of all, a declaration of resolute rejection of the action that we have seen from Russia. All of us, including Russia, have signed treaties and memorandums that commit us to respecting the sovereignty, the borders and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
And Russia’s intervention is a flagrant violation of those international commitments.
I hope we will all unite behind in calling upon Russia to withdraw her forces to her base areas, to desist from the current intervention, and certainly to refrain from any further acts of aggression.
I hope too that we will be able to send a very clear message that the way forward is for there to be direct contact between the governments of Russia and Ukraine.
If there are genuine concerns about the treatment of minorities or the status of the Russian language, there is the way that those concerns can be addressed, and I fear the refusal so far of the Russian government to engage in that sort of direct contact with the Ukrainian government is deeply concerning.
I am sure we will want to make it clear today that if the Russian government were to persist with its current course of action then that will come at a cost to Russia. It cannot simply be business as usual in the light of what we have seen in the last couple of days.
I don’t want at this stage before the meeting to rule anything in or rule anything out, but I’m sure we’ll be having a serious discussion amongst colleagues at how to take this further forward in light of what the Russian government chooses to do.
And I’m sure to we’ll want to discuss how to send a very clear message of support through technical and economic assistance to the government of Ukraine.