Europe faces ‘shooting conflict’ if Russia enters east Ukraine, says Hague
British foreign secretary accuses Putin of major miscalculation but says pressure will not remove Russia from Crimea
Sunday 9 March 2014
Europe would face the “great danger of a real shooting conflict” if Russian forces moved beyond Crimea to enter the main part of eastern Ukraine, William Hague has said as he accused Vladimir Putin of a major miscalculation.
As the foreign secretary warned of another “frozen conflict” in Europe, the energy secretary, Ed Davey, said gas prices could increase if the Ukraine crisis escalated into a military conflict.
But the foreign secretary, who said Putin had implemented carefully prepared plans to assume control of Crimea, acknowledged none of the options on the table – diplomatic pressure and economic sanctions – would be able to remove Russian forces from the Black Sea peninsula.
Asked by the BBC’s Europe editor, Gavin Hewitt, what would happen if Russian troops went beyond the Black Sea peninsula to enter “mainland” eastern Ukraine, Hague said: “There would be far reaching trade, economic and financial consequences. It would bring the great danger of a real shooting conflict. There is no doubt about that.”