Russian President Vladimir Putin is set the leave the G20 summit early after he was confronted by British Prime Minister David Cameron over Ukraine.
Cameron warned that Russia could face further sanctions unless it stopped “destabilising” Ukraine, telling the Russian President that he need to implement a peace plan to de-escalate tensions in the beleaguered eastern European nation.
The Prime Minister is reported to have confronted Putin at the fringes of the G20 meeting in Brisbane, Australia, telling him to end Moscow’s interference in its neighbour.
Mr Putin now plans to leave the summit early, although both London and Moscow have refused to comment on whether this is related to his “robust exchange” with David Cameron.
The Kremlin, for its part, appears to be downplaying the incident, issuing a statement saying: “Vladimir Putin and David Cameron noted interest in restoring ties between Russia and the West and adopting efficient measures to settle the Ukraine crisis which will facilitate the renunciation of confrontational sentiments.”
The Russian President had also received a frosty reception from Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who said: “I guess I’ll shake your hand, but I have only one thing to say to you: You need to get out of Ukraine.” Mr Harper’s spokesman said that Putin “did not respond positively”.
Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama used a speech a Brisbane University to say that America was leading the world in opposing Putin’s “aggression”, which he said was “a threat to the world”.
Referring to the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in July by a missile believed to have been fired by pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine, Mr Obama added: “As your ally and friend, America shares the grief of these Australian families and we share the determination of your nation for justice and accountability.”
A total of 38 Australians died in the incident.
A British government spokesman said: “We can either see implementation of the Minsk agreement and what follows from that in terms of an improvement of relations, or we can see things go in a very different way in terms of relations between Russia and the UK, Europe and the US.”