CANBERRA:Â Â British Prime Minister David Cameron told Vladimir Putin to stop bullying smaller states as Australian counterpart Tony Abbott accused the Russian leader of trying to relive the “lost glories of tsarism”.
The Russian president is in Brisbane for the G20 summit at a time of heightened tension with host Australia, which has sent three ships to its northern coast after a flotilla of Russian navy ships appeared there this week.
Abbott said the appearance of the four Russian vessels, which include a heavily armed cruiser and destroyer, were “part of a regrettable pattern” of growing Russian military bullishness.
Russia meanwhile warned France of “serious” consequences unless Paris this month delivers a warship whose handover has been delayed by the Ukraine crisis â€“
setting the stage for confrontation with European leaders at the G20 talks.
Cameron, speaking to the Australian parliament, warned Russia it faced further sanctions if it did not commit to resolving the conflict in Ukraine, calling Moscow’s actions “unacceptable”.
“It is a large state bullying a smaller state in Europe. We’ve seen the consequences of that in the past and we should learn the lessons of history and make sure we don’t let it happen again,” he said.
The West’s relations with Moscow have grown increasingly tense since the downing of a Malaysia Airlines jet over territory controlled by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine in July, killing 298 passengers and crew including 38 Australians.
Kiev and the West claim the plane was blown out of the sky with a missile supplied by Russia, an allegation Moscow denies.
“If Russia takes a positive approach towards Ukraine’s freedom and responsibility, we could see those sanctions removed. If Russia continues to make matters worse, we could see those sanctions increase. It’s as simple as that.”
The European Union, the United States and Australia are among countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia for what they see as Moscow’s desire to redraw modern Europe’s borders.