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Coffee House

Europe minister denies UK taking ‘back seat’ in Ukraine talks

21 February 2014

8:53 AM

21 February 2014

8:53 AM

Has the UK been doing enough to respond to the dreadful situation in Ukraine? A peace deal is on the table, but it’s clear this morning that nothing has been agreed, with Polish PM Donald Tusk sounding a note of caution that there’s an end in sight to this crisis. But there are suggestions this morning that the West has been a bit sluggish and weak in its response. Europe Minister David Lidington answered accusations that the UK was taking a ‘back seat’ in pushing for a resolution when he appeared on the Today programme:

‘I wouldn’t describe it as taking a back seat. I think it would be slightly ridiculous to have 28 foreign ministers all going off in concert. They are acting on behalf of all of us, and we are continuing to be active. The Prime Minister spoke yesterday to Chancellor Merkel, to President Putin, and he will be speaking to other European leaders today.

‘It was a cordial conversation [with President Putin]. The Prime Minister made very clear to the Russian president our concern about the slaughter that was going on in Kiev, and the need for a swift, peaceful resolution to that immediate crisis, leading to an inclusive political process within Ukraine. We certainly hope that Russia too will use her influence to bring about a permanent secession of violence and political progress in Ukraine.’

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