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Errors over Ukraine 'catastrophic': UK parliament report

Update: February, 20/2015 - 15:24

LONDON - Britain and the European Union are guilty of "sleepwalking" into a crisis in Ukraine, a scathing report from a British parliamentary committee said on Friday.

The criticism from the EU Committee of the House of Lords -- which scrutinises the British government's EU policies -- comes as a ceasefire falters between saparatists and Ukrainian forces.

The committee "believes that the EU, and by implication the UK, was guilty of sleepwalking into this crisis," said committee chairman Christopher Tugendhat.

"The lack of robust analytical capacity, in both the UK and the EU, effectively led to a catastrophic misreading of the mood in the run-up to the crisis."

"The government has not been as active or as visible on this issue as it could have been," the report said.

It is the latest blow to the administration of David Cameron over the issue, after the prime minister was described as "a foreign policy irrelevance" in the crisis by Britain's top commander in NATO, General Richard Shirreff.

The foreign office rejected the criticism.

"The UK has played a leading role in supporting Ukraine's right to chart its own future by ensuring that the EU imposed tough sanctions on Russia for seeking to dictate these choices," a spokeswoman said. - AFP

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