| LONDON, March 3
LONDON, March 3 Britain opposes trade sanctions
on Russia and does not want to shut London's financial capital
to Russians in response to the Kremlin's intervention in
Ukraine, the BBC reported, citing a document which was
inadvertently shown to a photographer.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has warned President
Vladimir Putin that Russia will have to pay 'significant costs'
unless the Kremlin changes course on Ukraine whose Crimea region
is now controlled by Russian forces.
But an official document which was photographed as a senior
official carried it into a meeting in Cameron's Downing Street
residence on Monday showed Britain may oppose sanctions that
might undermine London's reputation as a haven for Russian
"The UK should not support for now trade sanctions or close
London's financial centre to Russians," the BBC quoted the
document as saying.
The document, whose text could not be clearly made out from
the photograph published by the BBC, showed that British
ministers are considering visa restrictions and travel bans on
senior Russian figures, the BBC said.
When asked about the report, a spokeswoman for Cameron's
office said it did not comment on leaked documents.
"The Prime Minister is clear that continuing to violate
Ukraine's sovereignty will have costs and consequences," the
"We will take decisions on what these are in close
collaboration with EU and G7 partners and together are
considering a range of diplomatic, political and economic
The document described supporting European Union contingency
work on providing Ukraine with alternative gas supplies "if
Russia cuts them off". Russia, which supplies around a quarter
of continental European demand, cut gas supplies to Ukraine in
2006 and 2009.
The BBC said the document was being carried by a senior
official but did not identify the person, and it was not clear
whether the document detailed suggestions for discussion or set
out Britain's official position.
If an accurate reflection of British policy, the document
shows the difficulties the West faces in agreeing on sanctions
that could deter Putin from further action in Ukraine.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Monday he
was very concerned about the possibility that the Kremlin might
send troops further into Ukraine in what he said was already the
biggest crisis in Europe so far this century.
Hague said that Russia now had operational control of the
Crimea peninsula and that while Russia had the legal right to
base troops in the region, the Kremlin should order them to
return to their barracks.
"Clearly we are very concerned about any possibly of a
further move by Russia in other parts of Ukraine but that does
not mean the position in the Crimea is stable," Hague told the
BBC in an interview.