Russia's UK envoy - Western sanctions over Ukraine illegal and harmful

LONDON (Reuters) - Western sanctions against Russia over its role in the crisis in Ukraine are illegal, counter-productive and could hurt the global economy, Russia's ambassador to Britain, Alexander Yakovenko, said on Thursday.

The United States and the European Union have imposed several rounds of sanctions on Russian individuals and companies over Ukraine.

"We believe they are illegal, unreasonable and counter productive," Yakovenko told a news conference in London.

Some Western states are now mulling broader sanctions that would affect whole sectors of the Russian economy after a Malaysian airliner was downed over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine last Thursday, killing all 298 on board. "In my view the sectoral sanctions against Russia may well trigger a long anticipated end-game of the present global crisis," Yakovenko said.

He also said the allegation that Russia was involved in the shooting down of the airliner "doesn't hold water", and said there were no hard facts to show Russia was supplying weapons to separatists.

Yakovenko also criticised a decision by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to curtail cooperation with Russia, calling it unacceptable and harmful to all parties

(Reporting by Andrew Osborn; editing by Stephen Addison)