UK

David Cameron denies seeking 'Cold War' with Russia

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionDavid Cameron: "If Russia continues on its current path, then we will keep upping the pressure"

The UK is not seeking another Cold War with Russia, but Britain must stand up for its values, Prime Minister David Cameron has said.

Speaking at the Lord Mayor's banquet, he accused Russia of "violating territorial integrity" by what he said were its illegal actions in Ukraine.

If the UK took no action it would pose a danger to the rest of Europe and our own economic stability, he said.

He ruled out military action but said economic sanctions were effective.

Addressing an audience of over 1,000 guests at the banquet, he said: "They [Russia] are ripping up the international rulebook and disregarding the democratic will of the Ukrainian people to determine their own future.

'Having an impact'

"There will be those who say that this isn't our business and that we shouldn't interfere. And some will argue that we can't - that we have no influence to bear. But I believe both views are wrong.

"I don't believe there is a military solution. But that is not the only tool available to us. Economic sanctions on Russia are having an impact. Capital has flown out of Russia, banks are short of finance, and the Russian stock market and Rouble have fallen significantly."

The prime minister made reference to the fact that former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev warned that the UK was on the "brink of a new Cold War".

But Mr Cameron said that situation was "not inevitable", nor was it one which the UK sought.

"But I will also be clear, that if Russia continues on its current path, then we will keep upping the pressure and Russia's relationship with the rest of the world will be radically different in the future," he added.

'Protecting the streets'

The prime minister also used his speech to say that the UK had a fundamental duty to deal with the threat of Islamic State (IS) in the Middle East.

He said: "The scale of this threat is formidable. In the space of a few months IS has taken control of territory which is greater than the size of Britain, and is backed by millions of dollars and an arsenal of the most modern weapons.

"It would be completely wrong to think that we could entirely subcontract the task of protecting the streets of Britain to the air forces of our allies."

But he also said that he understood the view that after a "damaging recession and long and difficult conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan" the UK should avoid "sending armies to fight and occupy".

Related Topics

More on this story