After the blunder, No10 considers sanctions: Cameron orders ‘broad spectrum’ of possible actions against Russia to be drawn up
- Cameron’s adviser Hugh Powell left file on display to photographers
- Document revealed Britain will not impose sanctions against Russia
- Will not support military action against the country either, it showed
- Also disclosed Russian investors will not be frozen out of City of London
- Hague and Cameron claimed today they would ‘get tough’ with Russia
- Cameron told officials to draw up a ‘broad spectrum’ of potential sanctions
UPDATED: 19:29 EST, 4 March 2014
David Cameron has today ordered plans to be drawn up for a range of possible sanctions against Russia after a No10 briefing paper was exposed to photographers
David Cameron has ordered plans to be drawn up for a range of possible sanctions against Russia.
The move came as the Government sought to downplay the accidental disclosure of a briefing paper suggesting there will be no tough line against Moscow.
The document was inadvertently exposed to photographers by Hugh Powell, a deputy national security adviser on his way to a Downing Street meeting.
An old Etonian friend of David Cameron, he is now facing disciplinary proceedings for his ineptitude.
He will receive a dressing-down from Richard Heaton, the top mandarin at the Cabinet Office, who will discuss a punishment with his line manager, national security chief Sir Kim Darroch. Mr Cameron yesterday called the incident ‘unfortunate and regrettable’.
Trying to regain the initiative, he has told officials to draw up a ‘broad spectrum’ of potential sanctions.
A Whitehall source said: ‘Officials are under instructions from the Prime Minister to work up a package of political and economic pressure. There is a lot of work going on about the possible costs and consequences for Russia and for us.’
On Mr Powell, a source added: ‘The clear instructions from the Prime Minister were that normal disciplinary procedures should be followed and that he should not be treated differently because of his seniority or background. This was a serious incident.’
Mr Cameron warned Russia: ‘We have said very clearly there will be costs and consequences diplomatically, politically and economically, from the decisions that have been taken.’
William Hague dismissed Russia’s excuses for intervening militarily in Ukraine and told MPs that Britain’s options ‘remained open’.
A document (pictured) that stated Britain will not impose sanctions on Russia or support military action was revealed by accident
The document was revealed by deputy national security adviser Hugh Powell to photographers as he walked past No10 to attend a meeting about the crisis in Ukraine
The Kremlin says it is acting at the request of former Ukrainian president Victor Yanukovych.
But Mr Hague said: ‘The suggestion that a president who has fled his country then has any authority whatsoever to invite the forces of a neighbouring country into that country is baseless.
‘Russia has also argued that Russian-speaking minorities in the Ukraine are in danger, but no evidence of that threat has been presented.’
The Foreign Secretary said the document revealed by Mr Powell was ‘not necessarily a guide to the decisions that will be made by Her Majesty’s Government’.
HOW WE’LL RAMP UP DIPLOMATIC PRESSURE
The leaked document reveals details of the UK’s plans for raising pressure on Russia. Several key elements will interest the Kremlin:
WHAT IT SAYS The papers show plans to break off relations with Russia through a series of international organisations. Clearly legible are references to the G8, EU-Russia formats and the NATO-Russia council and it says ‘visa restrictions/travel bans on key’ personnel.
WHAT IT MEANS EU foreign ministers plan to suspend cooperation with Russia over the planned G8 summit in Sochi in June. The EU has suspended cooperation over visas.
WHAT IT SAYS ‘UK should not support for now, trade sanctions…or close London’s financial centre to Russians.’
WHAT IT MEANS US Secretary of State John Kerry has threatened asset freezes on Russians in America. But Britain does not intend to follow suit, for fear of losing Russian investment.
WHAT IT SAYS A section on Ukraine talks about a technical assistance package and mentions a ‘deep and comprehensive’ trade deal and ‘contingency EU work on providing Ukraine with alternative gas supplies if Russia cuts them off’.
WHAT IT MEANS The UK yesterday pledged £10million in aid to the Ukrainian government to help stabilise the country. EU ministers said they were keen to pursue a free trade agreement with Ukraine. No. 10 confirmed that the UK has urged EU officials to help Ukraine buy its energy elsewhere.
WHAT IT SAYS Britain should back the ‘deployment of OSCE and/or UN (but not EU) monitors to Crimea and Eastern Ukraine’, ‘push UN Secretary General Ban to take the lead’, ‘accept a special European Council’ and ‘discourage any discussions (eg at Nato) of emergency military preparations’.
WHAT IT MEANS Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe monitors began deploying to Ukraine last night.
A special EU summit will be held on Thursday. Effective ruling out of support for military action.
Mr Hague indicated that EU leaders would discuss sanctions at a summit in Brussels tomorrow.
He added: ‘I have stressed several times the importance of unity among the western nations; the importance of any measures being well judged and well targeted; and the importance of any measures being legally sustainable.
‘That is why these matters require calm and careful consideration.’
Ministers fear that imposing trade restrictions or somehow excluding Russians from the financial markets in London will hurt economic growth and deter foreign investment.
The capital is known as ‘Londongrad’ due to the number of millionaire Russian oligarchs based here. A senior figure said: ‘We’re trying to find ways of hurting Russia, not hurting ourselves.’
Mr Powell, who was at Eton with the Prime Minister, is the son of Margaret Thatcher’s chief foreign policy adviser Charles Powell and nephew of Tony Blair’s chief of staff Jonathan Powell.
The document undermined claims by Mr Cameron and William Hague that the UK was set to get tough with Russia.
Visiting the Ukrainian capital Kiev, the Foreign Secretary described the situation as the biggest crisis in Europe in the 21st century.
‘Regrettable’: William Hague answers questions from MPs in the House of Commons on the escalating crisis in the Ukraine and a secret document that suggested Britain would not support military action against Russia
David Cameron and William Hague – pictured meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minsiter Arseniy Yatsenyuk today – claimed the UK was set to get tough with Russia
He warned Russian president Vladimir Putin that he faces a ‘significant cost’ for taking control of the Ukrainian region.
After chairing the National Security Council meeting, Mr Cameron said a clear message needed to be ‘sent to the Russian government that continuing down this path of violating the sovereignty of another country will have costs and consequences’.
He added: ‘We shall have to bring to bear diplomatic, political, economic and other pressures.’
US secretary of state John Kerry threatened to deny Russians in America access to their money today
By contrast, US secretary of state John Kerry went much further, threatening to deny Russians in America access to their money. He said Mr Putin ‘may find himself with asset freezes on Russian business. American business may pull back, there may be a further tumble of the rouble’.
EU foreign ministers, meeting in Brussels, agreed to suspend cooperation with Russia over the planned G8 summit in Mr Putin’s holiday home of Sochi in June.
The EU will also suspend cooperation on visas and they warned that ‘further sanctions’ may be imposed after an emergency summit on Thursday. A Downing Street spokesman refused to discuss the leak. ‘We never comment on security matters,’ he said.
Labour MP Simon Danczuk called for Mr Powell to resign, pointing out that Bob Quick – the former Scotland Yard head of counter-terrorism – was forced to quit in 2009 after a similar mistake.
He said: ‘It’s astonishing that the deputy national security adviser can’t keep sensitive documents like this private. It’s clearly a serious issue and needs to be addressed.’
Tory MP Douglas Carswell added: ‘I’m surprised to hear that Inspector Clouseau is working in Downing Street. We have literally shown all our cards.’
One Government official indicated that a reprimand was on the cards for Mr Powell.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2572977/Secret-documents-accidentally-shown-photographers-revealed-Britain-not-support-military-action-against-Russia-NOT-reflect-Governments-final-decision-says-Hague.html#ixzz2v3TFXI5M Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
- Ukraine: David Cameron must explain why he believes Britain must deal with Russia (blogs.telegraph.co.uk)
- Secret documents accidentally shown to photographers that revealed Britain would not support military action against Russia ‘do NOT reflect Government’s final decision’ says Hague (dailymail.co.uk)