Russia warns Britain that it may respond to Cameron’s statements regarding Ukraine

By Jay Faulconbridge and Muvija M

MOSCOW/LONDON (Reuters) – Russia warned Britain on Monday that if Ukraine uses British weapons to strike Russian territory, Moscow may retaliate against British military installations and equipment inside and outside Ukraine.

Russia said British Ambassador Nigel Casey had been summoned to the Foreign Office to lodge a formal protest after Foreign Secretary David Cameron said last week that Ukraine had the right to use British weapons to strike Russia.

Britain denied summoning Casey, saying he met with Russian officials “to hold a diplomatic meeting” in which he “confirmed the UK’s support for Ukraine in the face of unprovoked Russian aggression.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that Cameron’s comments acknowledged that Britain was now effectively part of the conflict and contradicted previous assurances that the long-range weapons given to Ukraine would not be used against Russia.

“Casey was warned that in response to Ukrainian attacks on Russian territory with British weapons, any British military facilities and equipment on the territory of Ukraine and beyond could be targeted,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

The ministry said it considered Cameron’s statements a dangerous escalation.

“The Ambassador was summoned to reflect on the inevitable disastrous consequences of such hostile steps by London and immediately refuted the aggressive provocative statements of the head of the Foreign Ministry in the most decisive and unequivocal way.”

During a visit to Kiev last week, Cameron told Reuters that Ukraine has the right to use weapons provided by Britain to strike targets inside Russia, and that it is up to Kiev to do so or not.

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A British Foreign Office spokesman said on Monday that Casey also reaffirmed “the UK’s position on providing support to Ukraine” during his meeting with Russian officials.

(Editing by Nick Macfie)

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