Britain warns Putin over Ukraine: Russia could be expelled from G8

LONDON Wed Mar 19, 2014 8:57am EDT

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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain warned President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday that Russia could face permanent exclusion from the G8 if the Kremlin took further steps against Ukraine.

"I think we should be discussing whether or not to expel Russia permanently from the G8 if further steps are taken," Prime Minister David Cameron told the British parliament.

The United States and its G7 allies will gather next week at The Hague without Russia to consider a further response to the Kremlin's moves to annex Ukraine's Crimea region.

Cameron called for a strong response from European Union states, whose leaders meet later this week in Brussels and are expected to discuss details of further sanctions on Russia.

The EU agreed earlier this week to impose asset freezes and travel bans on 21 individuals linked to the action in Crimea.

Cameron said that Russia would face economic sanctions if it took further steps to destabilize Ukraine such as sending troops into eastern Ukraine.

"If we turn away from this crisis and don't act we will pay a very high price in the longer-term," he said.

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, William James and Julia Fiorreti, editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

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