VIDEO-Francois Hollande hits back at David Cameron attacking France selling warships to Russia | Mail Online

By Matt Chorley, Mailonline Political Editor and James Chapman

Published: 04:07 EST, 22 July 2014 | Updated: 02:20 EST, 23 July 2014




France branded the British as ‘hypocrites’ yesterday over David Cameron’s demands that Paris abandon its £1billion warship sale to Russia.

The Prime Minister says it would be ‘unthinkable’ for French president Francois Hollande to go ahead with the supply of two helicopter carriers to Moscow.

European leaders have been under intense pressure to impose tough sanctions on Russian – or risk repeating the mistakes of Nazi appeasers in the 1930s.

But Mr Hollande has vowed to press on with the deal, with an ally warning Mr Cameron that he should ‘start by cleaning up his own back yard’.

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French President Francois Hollande has vowed to press ahead with selling warships to Russia, despite criticism from David Cameron

Mr Cameron is pushing for tougher sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin and his 'cronies' in attempt to force Moscow to reign in separatists in eastern Ukraine

Tribute to the victims: Barack Obama visits the Dutch Embassy in Washington to sign a book of condolence

Asked on Monday whether France should pull out, Mr Cameron said: ‘Frankly in this country it would be unthinkable to fulfil an order like the one outstanding that the French have.

‘But we need to put the pressure on with all our partners to say that we cannot go on doing business as usual with a country when it is behaving in this way.’

In response, Jean-Christophe Cambadelis, head of Hollande’s ruling Socialist Party, said: ‘Hollande is not backing down. He is delivering the first (ship) despite the fact he is being asked not to.

‘This is a false debate led by hypocrites. When you see how many (Russian) oligarchs have sought refuge in London, David Cameron should start by cleaning up his own back yard.’

David Cameron should start by cleaning up his own backyard 

Jean-Christophe Cambadelis, 

head of France's Socialist Party

Tougher sanctions have been proposed in an attempt to force Mr Putin to rein in the separatists in eastern Ukraine.

After an emergency summit in Brussels, Mr Cameron hailed an agreement in principle to widen measures against Mr Putin’s ‘cronies’ and to consider targeting Russia’s defence sector.

But Lithuania’s president reflected growing anger in former Soviet countries at the failure of EU leaders to move decisively following the downing of flight MH17.

‘If European states keep on acting so indecisively, this is a direct invitation for the aggressor to be more aggressive and go further,’ said Dalia Grybauskaite, condemning France for pressing ahead with the Mistral sale.

New British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond (right) speaks to Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski at a Foreign Affairs Council meeting at the EU Council headquarters in Brussels

Foreign Secretary: 'EU must send clear signal to Russia'


Russian President Vladimir Putin last year teased David Cameron about the influx of wealthy foreigners into London.

Britain was dismissed as 'a small island’ by his spokesman, who claimed nobody pays attention to it – except of course the Russian ‘oligarchs who have bought Chelsea’.

That does not mean that every wealthy Russian in London now faces the prospect of sanctions.

But it does raise questions about the UK government's willingness to accept their millions into the Treasury's coffers. 

  • Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich is probably the best known Russian billionaire in the capital, worth an estimated £6.4billion.
  • Uzbek-born Russian businessman Alisher Usmanov, worth £10.7billion, has a 30 per cent stake in Arsenal football club in North London.
  • Len Blavatnik, worth £10billion, is a Russian-born oil billionaire who in 2004 bought a group of former Soviet Embassy buildings in Kensington Palace Gardens, creating a house surrounded by a 30ft wall and guarded 24/7 by armed staff.
  • Billionaire Boris Berezovsky, who died last year, was a fierce critic of Putin. He sought exile in London as part of a campaign to expose allegations against the Russian President.
  • Banker Lubov Chernukhin is married to Vladimir Chernukhin, who was Russia’s deputy finance minister during Vladimir Putin’s first term as Russian President. Last month she paid £160,000 to play tennis against David Cameron.
  • Billionaire banker Andrei Borodin and his model wife Tatanya Korsakova, own Britain’s most expensive home, the £140 million Park Place, near Henley-on-Thames. 
  • Russian banker George Piskov has previously donated £17,378 to the Tories

‘In the 1930s, Nazism wasn’t stopped, and now aggressive Russian chauvinism isn’t stopped and that resulted in the attack against a civilian plane.’

Yesterday, the EU threatened Moscow with broad economic sanctions if it failed to muzzle pro-Russian separatists fomenting chaos in Ukraine – but stopped short of any immediate action to punish the Kremlin.

Philip Hammond, Britain’s new Foreign Secretary, had called for an immediate arms embargo, while Britain and Germany also brandished lists of names of pro-Putin individuals and firms they want targeted.

EU foreign ministers agreed to draft a new set of names by tomorrow to be added to the 63 individuals and entities already targeted.

The latest move could mean a big increase in asset freezes and travel bans.

EU leaders also agreed to prepare further options, including a potential arms embargo and broader sanctions against Russia’s energy and financial sectors.

Many of Russia’s billionaire businessmen are said to be ‘horrified’ at the prospect of crippling economic sanctions but are too terrified of Mr Putin to say so openly.

There was a suggestion last night that the threat of sanctions is already having an impact on Russian oligarchs.

Asked if there was any evidence of assets being moved out of London, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘The measures which have been taken with regard to individuals and entities has got a correlation with some of the financial flows we have seen across Europe, including here in London.

'That’s certainly the case.’

Of the Brussels talks, Mr Cameron said: ‘We are making progress.

'Other countries of Europe can now see that this lethal cocktail of allowing weapons and armed personnel to go into eastern Ukraine and support separatists has ended in this appalling tragedy.’

Mr Putin last night declared that Russia would strengthen its military capability to ‘counter Nato activity’ in Eastern Europe.

Cameron threatens Putin with tougher sanctions

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