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Former British Prime Minister David Cameron said Russian President Vladimir Putin is “effectively a war criminal,” and stressed that the UK “must do our bit economically, just as the Ukrainian armed forces are doing their bit militarily.”
Cameron urged the US, Britain, European countries and others not to attend the upcoming G20 summit in November in Bali, Indonesia, if Putin is invited and able to attend.
It is unthinkable for, you know, an American President to have to sit next to someone who is effectively a war criminal. Who is indiscriminately bombing and shelling civilians in their homes and schools and hospitals. It should be unthinkable,” he told CNN’s John Berman,
Cameron said the UK must do “everything else we can” to help Ukraine aside from military action, including increasing pressure on Russia with sanction.
“We’ve also got to recognize that while we can’t put our own troops in, and while we can’t operate a no-fly zone for fear of making this conflict go wider, we must do everything else we can,” Cameron said.
Cameron also detailed two occasions during his time in office when he believed President Putin “flat-out lied.” He said that the international community should “judge [Russia] by their deeds. Do not believe their words.”
“I remember one was him lying about the presence of Russian troops in the Donbas in 2014,” Cameron said. “Another occasion was about the fate of the Malaysian Airliner MH17 that was shot down over Ukraine.”
Some background: Cameron’s remarks come nearly two weeks after US President Joe Biden also called Putin a “war criminal.”
It was the harshest condemnation of Putin’s actions from any US official since the war in Ukraine began on February 24. Previously, Biden had stopped short of labeling atrocities being documented on the ground in Ukraine as “war crimes,” citing ongoing international and US investigations.
But on March 16, speaking with reporters at an unrelated event, Biden affixed the designation on the Russian leader, saying, “I think he is a war criminal.”
However, other Western leaders have been more reticent in their condemnation of Putin.
At the beginning of March, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Russia’s actions in Ukraine qualify “as a war crime,” but he didn’t refer to Putin as a war criminal himself.
CNN’s Sam Fossum, Kevin Liptak, Gabby Gretener and Sarah Diab contributed reporting to this post.