NEWPORT, Wales, Sept 5 Britain's Foreign
Secretary Philip Hammond said on Friday the West would push
ahead with new sanctions against Russia over the crisis in
Ukraine but said these could be lifted should a proposed
ceasefire take hold.
NATO demanded on Thursday that Moscow withdraw its troops
from Ukraine, and the European Union and the United States are
preparing a new round of economic sanctions against Russia for
"There will be another step up of the pressure today when
the EU meets in Brussels to decide on the next round of
sanctions," Hammond told Sky News from Wales where NATO leaders
"Our economies are fundamentally more robust and resilient
than the Russian economy and if Russia ends up in an economic
war with the West, Russia will lose."
However, he said measures against Russia could be eased if a
proposed ceasefire between Ukraine and pro-Russian rebels
expected to be agreed later on Friday takes hold.
"If there is a ceasefire, if it is signed and if it is then
implemented, we can then look at lifting sanctions off but ...
there is a great degree of scepticism about whether this action
will materialise, whether the ceasefire will be real," Hammond
told BBC TV.
"We can always take the sanctions off afterwards, I don't
think we want to be distracted from our determination to impose
further sanctions in response to Russia's major military
adventure into Ukraine."
Hammond also said Britain had made no commitment to take
part in any air strikes against Islamic State jihadists in Iraq,
but was still considering the possibility of military action.
"The U.S. is already carrying out air strikes, we in Britain
have made no commitment to take part in any air strikes as yet
but we will certainly consider that possibility if we think that
it is the best and most effective way to support a credible and
inclusive Iraqi government when one is formed."
(Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Kate Holton)