The Group of 7 Nations (G7), formerly Group of 8 (G8) has suspended Russia from the alliance of leading industrialised nations, said the Whitehouse on Monday. This in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea, formerly part of Ukraine.
Leaders of the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom on Monday met at the Hague in the Netherlands where the group expressed their support for Ukraine’s sovereignty.
“We remind Russia of its international obligations, and its responsibilities including those for the world economy. Russia has a clear choice to make,” said the group in a statement on Monday. “Diplomatic avenues to de-escalate the situation remain open, and we encourage the Russian Government to take them.”
The G7 accused Russia of violating international law and its international obligations, stating that it does not recognise the acquisition of the Ukraine by Russia.
The Hague Declaration noted that it was “shared beliefs and shared responsibilities” that brought the G8 together. But that Russia’s actions in the past few weeks is not consistent with those beliefs and responsibilities.
“Under these circumstances, we will not participate in the planned Sochi Summit,” said the group. “We will suspend our participation in the G-8 until Russia changes course and the environment comes back to where the G-8 is able to have a meaningful discussion and will meet again in G-7 format at the same time as planned.”
But Russia has shrugged off the suspension, saying the G8 was never anything more than an informal club.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, also speaking from the Hague, said no-one can be expelled from the G8:
“Its raison d’etre was for deliberations between western industrialised countries and Russia, but there are other fora for that now… so if our western partners say there is no future for that format, then so be it. We are not clinging to that format,” the Guardian quoted him as saying.
Russia has maintained that its action in Crimea has always been to avoid bloodshed in that region after the violent protests and ousting of Ukraine Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych. In a press briefing last week Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the west of double standards when it came to abiding by international law.
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