Prime Minister David Cameron has assured grieving relatives of those who died in the Malaysia Airlines disaster in the Ukraine that “everything is being done” to bring their loved ones home.
Relatives of Blackpool-born Glenn Thomas, 49, who was one of the 298 people killed
after flight MH17 crashed over the conflict-torn country, met the Prime Minister on a visit to Downing Street yesterday.
Mr Thomas’s twin sister Tracey Withers was seen walking into Number 10 yesterday morning as part of the visit.
Speaking ahead of his meeting with MH17 families, Mr Cameron said: “I’m sure that the bereaved families’ first concern will be that their loved ones are treated with respect and with dignity and we must do everything we can to make sure that that crash site is properly managed, that their loved ones are brought home and that everything that can be done on that front is being done, and that’s what I’ll be discussing with them today. I will be trying to bring them up to date with all the things that have happened, and listen to them and try to answer some of their questions.”
Mr Cameron was speaking as EU ambassadors met to discuss a dramatic escalation in sanctions, which are expected to include so-called “Tier Three” measures to target entire sectors of the Russian economy, rather than simply affecting individual members of Mr Putin’s inner circle.
“The sanctions really relate to Vladimir Putin’s and Russia’s behaviour, and we want to make it absolutely clear that Russia’s behaviour in destabilising another country – Ukraine – is unacceptable and therefore the European Union, with the United States, will be imposing further sanctions unless that behaviour changes,” he added.
“It was very clear in my conference call with President Obama, President Hollande, Chancellor Merkel and Prime Minister Renzi yesterday that we are united in sending that very tough message. It’s a message that will be backed by tough action.”
Mr Thomas was an avid traveller, excited about going to Australia for the first time, when his Malaysian Airlines MH17 flight to Kuala Lumpar crashed on July 17.
A former journalist and spokesman for the World Health Organisation in Geneva, he was on his way to a medical conference in Australia when his flight came down close to the Russian border, allegedly shot down by pro-Russian separatists.
Glenn, who grew up in South Shore and went to Highfield High School, joined the civil service after leaving Blackpool Sixth Form.
He went to night school where he got his A-Levels before studying economics at Bangor University.
From there he got his first job in journalism at The Citizen in St Annes.