David Cameron regrets 'feeble' Western response to Russian invasion

The former Prime Minister made a speech at the State University of Moscow in 2011

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Former prime minister David Cameron said he regrets the “feeble” western response to Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008.

Mr Cameron was asked whether he regretted his involvement with Russia, including a speech at the State University of Moscow in 2011 where he said Britain and Russia would be “stronger together”.

He said: “What I regret is in 2008, when I was leader of the opposition, when Russia effectively invaded Georgia, I went to Tbilisi to show solidarity with President Saakashvili. And if you look at the western response to Georgia, it was feeble, there weren’t sanctions, there wasn’t pressure put in place.

“We should have done that in 2008 and we did behave differently in 2012 when Putin invaded Crimea, in 2014.”

EMBARGOED TO 0001 FRIDAY OCTOBER 29 File photo dated 13/05/21 of David Cameron leaves his home in London ahead of giving evidence to the Commons Treasury Committee on Greensill Capital. An investigation by the public spending watchdog raised questions about whether potential conflicts of interest were even discussed in relation to financier Lex Greensill's role in a supply chain finance deal. Issue date: Friday October 29, 2021.
EMBARGOED TO 0001 FRIDAY OCTOBER 29 File photo dated 13/05/21 of David Cameron leaves his home in London ahead of giving evidence to the Commons Treasury Committee on Greensill Capital. An investigation by the public spending watchdog raised questions about whether potential conflicts of interest were even discussed in relation to financier Lex Greensill's role in a supply chain finance deal. Issue date: Friday October 29, 2021.

He said by 2014 the UK was leading the effort on sanctions, adding: “When I think back to that time, you know, we were trying to persuade… I mean, the French at that stage were selling warships to the Russians.”

He said when he entered No 10 “there was a sense that, look, you had to try and find a way of working with these people”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin visits the construction site of the National Space Agency on the premises of the Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Centre, in Moscow, Russia February 27, 2022. Sputnik/Sergey Guneev/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Russian President Vladimir Putin visits the construction site of the National Space Agency on the premises of the Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Centre, in Moscow, Russia February 27, 2022. Sputnik/Sergey Guneev/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.

“We had to work together over terrorism, we had to work together over climate change. We had to work together over banking regulations,” he said.

“I thought we had to do business with Russia and its leadership, which at that time was more (Dmitry) Medvedev than Putin.”

He also defended the Conservative Party receiving money from Russian donors.

The former prime minister told Channel 4 News: “If the argument is that somehow Russian investment in Britain, or very small numbers of Russians supporting the Conservative Party, somehow changed our policy, I would say that it’s complete nonsense.”

He refused to be drawn on accusations against Boris Johnson regarding the elevation of Evgeny Lebedev to the House of Lords.

Mr Cameron said: “Look, that’s for the Prime Minister to explain and to defend.

“The Lords Appointments Commission is an important body. I always listened to it very carefully. But I’m not here to start throwing bricks at the Prime Minister at this moment.”