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U.K. Said to Seek EU Ban on Defense Gear Exports to Russia

July 21 (Bloomberg) -- U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron will press the European Union to accelerate existing sanctions against Russia and agree an export block on defense equipment, an official said.

The U.K. will call for sanctions against the entire Russian defense sector, as well as against more individuals and companies who are either materially supporting separatists in Ukraine or supporting or influencing Putin’s government, said the official from Cameron’s office, speaking on condition of anonymity. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said today there was a case for moving to so-called stage three sanctions.

EU foreign ministers will meet in Brussels tomorrow to discuss the crisis. With 10 Britons among the dead on Malaysian Air flight MH17, the government’s immediate priority is to secure the crash site in eastern Ukraine, repatriate bodies, and get investigators onto the scene, according to the official. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said Britain was ready to take an economic hit from more sanctions.

“There is now a change in mood even in those member states that have been much more reticent,” Clegg told a press conference in London. “Russia cannot continue to have unfettered access to the world’s largest single market and carry on as it is in Ukraine.”

‘Appalling Tragedy’

Cameron last night talked to Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone and told him that Russia’s support for Ukrainian separatists had “contributed to an appalling tragedy,” his office said. The prime minister warned Putin to “change course and work to bring stability to eastern Ukraine.”

Hammond told the BBC that sanctions would hit London’s financial center. “We should be prepared to accept, as a part of a comprehensive package of sanction pressures, measures that will have some impact on London,” he said. “We have tools in our toolbox, we have levers which we can apply to Russia. We can inflict damage on the Russian economy.”

Both Hammond and Cameron placed blame at Putin’s door yesterday. Asked if they would support sanctions directly against the Russian president, the U.K. official said the options would be judged on their likely impact on Putin’s behavior. British officials were frustrated it had taken three days to set up a call with him, the official said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Robert Hutton in London at rhutton1@bloomberg.net; Scott Hamilton in London at shamilton8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net Andrew Atkinson

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