Vladimir Putin and David Cameron
Cameron attacked for taking money from oligarchsReuters

Prime Minister David Cameron has been pitched into a damaging row over his Russian "cronies" and his failure to block arms sales to the Kremlin just a day after demanding tough new sanctions against Moscow by other "reluctant" EU leaders.

Only hours after the prime minister was accused of hypocrisy by the French over his demands for a ban on their planned delivery of a warship to Moscow, it emerged the UK was still selling millions of pounds worth of arms to the Putin regime.

And his own links with Russian oligarchs in Britain has seen his Commons attack on "Putin's cronies" thrown back at him with claims it is "Cameron's cronies" he should be targeting.

The arms row escalated after a parliamentary report found that at least £132m worth of export licences to Russia were still in place, despite Cameron's demands for a ban on arms sales to Moscow, while Vladimir Putin is believed to be arming the Ukraine rebels who brought down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

Downing Street has insisted no military equipment had been sold to Russia's armed forces since March and anything sold was purely for commercial use.

But MPs led by the Tory chair of the committee, John Stanley, are demanding more explanation from ministers.

French Mistral Warships Helicopter Carriers
Cameron said delivery of warship was "unthinkable"JEAN-SEBASTIEN EVRARD/AFP/Getty Images

The revelation came after the prime minister had criticised as "unthinkable" the French plan to continue with the delivery of a warship to Russia and cast himself as the only EU leader demanding wide-ranging and tough new sanctions against Putin.

Cameron's demand led to allegations of hypocrisy from the ruling French socialist party, which told him to "clear out his own backyard" of Russian oligarchs, some of whom have contributed to Tory party coffers and attended the Tories' recent summer ball.

Headlines in the normally Tory-supporting Daily Mail also declared: " Hand back the roubles Dave."

The criticisms have added to the pressure over the recent donations to Tory funds by Russians linked to Putin.

One such donation came at the recent Conservative summer party at which the wife of a Putin ally shelled out £160,000 in an auction for a game of tennis with Cameron.

Claims that many of the oligarchs are buying up properties in some of London's most desirable and expensive areas, only to leave them empty as investments, have already caused controversy.

The EU's existing irritation at the apparent posturing by Cameron has been intensified by the latest developments and Brussels insiders now believe the chance of getting the sort of tough sanctions the prime minister has talked about may have been significantly damaged.

Cameron has already further isolated himself within the EU over his attempt to block the appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker as EU Commission president and his anti-EU rhetoric.

To many European leaders, it appears Cameron has spent the past few months appeasing his Ukip-lite Eurosceptics with measures leading the UK ever closer to withdrawal, but then wants to appear to be leading the Union when it comes to the Ukraine crisis.

They have pointed out that some of the economic measures he is advocating would threaten recovery of the Eurozone, of which the UK is not a member.

And the fact that some in Brussels joke about "Londongrad" because of the large number of oligarchs taking up residence in the city indicates the increasing level of annoyance at the prime minister's tactics.