British ministers to shun Sochi Paralympics over Ukraine - Cameron

LONDON Sun Mar 2, 2014 6:31pm GMT

Britain's Prime Minister, David Cameron leaves number 10 Downing Street in central London June 14, 2013. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

Britain's Prime Minister, David Cameron leaves number 10 Downing Street in central London June 14, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Stefan Wermuth

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LONDON (Reuters) - British government ministers will stay away from the Paralympics in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi due to the situation in Ukraine, Prime Minister David Cameron said on Sunday.

Ukraine has mobilised for war and Washington has threatened to isolate Russia economically after President Vladimir Putin declared he had the right to invade his neighbour, creating Moscow's biggest confrontation with the West since the Cold War.

"Because of the serious situation in Ukraine, (Foreign Secretary) William Hague and I believe it would be wrong for UK Ministers to attend the Sochi Paralympics," Cameron said on Twitter.

A spokesman said Cameron would be speaking to U.S. President Barack Obama, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite on Sunday evening.

"The Prime Minister remains gravely concerned about events in Ukraine and is determined to pursue all avenues to reduce tensions and de-escalate a very dangerous situation," the spokesman said in a statement.

Hague travelled to Kiev on Sunday to meet the pro-Western government that took power when Russia's ally Viktor Yanukovich fled last week. He said Britain would join the United States and France in pulling out of preparatory meetings this week for a G8 summit in Sochi.

"The focus of our engagement with Russia must be the situation in Ukraine, rather than other normal business," the spokesman for Cameron's office said.

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Kevin Liffey)


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