Press briefing: afternoon 3 March 2014
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
The Prime Minister’s Spokesperson (PMS) answered questions on Crimea and prosecution authorities.
The PMS told the assembled press that the National Security Council was still ongoing and that the Prime Minister had spoken to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon shortly before the start of the Council. They had agreed it was urgent that the Russian government enter into discussion with the Ukranian government on how to reduce tensions in the region and to de-escalate the situation.
Asked what the EU agreement on possible sanctions for Russia could be, the PMS referred journalists to the Foreign Secretary’s statement, citing that the violation of Ukranian independence and sovereignty would lead to significant costs, but alongside that the EU would be seeking ways to de-escalate through dialogue between the Ukranian government and the Russian authorities. He referred the press to the EU directives and framework already in place that guide how sanctions can be applied.
Asked if there would be an emergency EU summit on the Crimea, the PMS said that the Foreign Affairs Council was still in discussion but that a summit was an option. While no decision had been made, the international community was in close discussion.
In reaction to Russia’s ultimatum that Ukranian forces must surrender by 3 am (GMT) that night, the PMS again encouraged de-escalation and reiterated that there would be costs for not respecting Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence.
In answer to a repeated question on suggestions that Number 10 had asked the police not to prosecute Nigella Lawson for drug offences, the PMS restated that the prosecution authorities were independent and prosecution was entirely a matter for them.