Ukraine crisis: Document shows Britain opposes sanctions on Russia

The flags of Ukraine, US and the Great Britaine flutter on Independence Square in Kiev on Feb 27, 2014. Britain opposes trade or financial sanctions on Russia over its intervention in Ukraine, media reports said on Tuesday, March 4, 2014, citing
The flags of Ukraine, US and the Great Britaine flutter on Independence Square in Kiev on Feb 27, 2014. Britain opposes trade or financial sanctions on Russia over its intervention in Ukraine, media reports said on Tuesday, March 4, 2014, citing an apparently official document photographed as it was being carried into Downing Street. -- PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - Britain opposes trade or financial sanctions on Russia over its intervention in Ukraine, media reports said on Tuesday, citing an apparently official document photographed as it was being carried into Downing Street.

The document was snapped in the hand of a senior official walking into a meeting at Prime Minister David Cameron's office on Monday, according to the BBC and several newspapers.

Apparently setting out Britain's options in the Ukranian crisis, it says "the UK should not support for now trade sanctions... or close London's financial centre to Russians".

London is an increasingly popular destination for wealthy Russians and the banks and trading houses of the City of London attract substantial amounts of Russian money.

During a visit to Kiev on Monday, Foreign Secretary William Hague warned Russia of the "consequences and costs" of intervention in Ukraine, without giving any details.

According to the BBC, the official briefing paper says public statements should be kept "generic" and specific threats should be "contingent and used for private messaging".

Mr Cameron said on Monday: "What we want to see is a de-escalation rather than a continuation down the path that the Russian government has taken, violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of another country.

"So we shall have to bring to bear diplomatic, political, economic and other pressures in order to make this point."

Downing Street refused to comment on the photographed document, which emerged after EU foreign ministers warned of sanctions against Moscow following emergency talks in Brussels.

EU sources said "targeted measures" would include visa bans or asset freezes against senior figures as well as suspending mutual accords.

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