BLACKBURN MP Jack Straw has warned David Cameron against ‘sending gunboats’ to solve the Ukraine crisis.

The former Labour foreign secretary tackled the Prime Minister on the issue after he made a Commons statement about Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Mr Straw said: “In the absence of sending gunboats, which I think few of us would recommend, a step-by-step, long-term approach is sensible.

“Ukraine is one of the very few countries in the world which voluntarily gave up nuclear weapons on its soil.

“It did so in return for clear guarantees of its territorial integrity, including from Russia.

“Given the talks on nuclear security that you have been involved in, can you say what further steps need to be taken to ensure that Russia’s invasion of Crimea does not undermine the international strategy to reduce nuclear proliferation?”

Mr Cameron replied: “You make a very good point.

“There was never an option of sending gunboats.”

But he went on to say: “There is not some military answer to this.

“The only approach is a considered, long-term, tough and predictable one, so that Russia knows that if it goes further into eastern Ukraine there will be very significant economic consequences.”