The Group of Seven major powers decided to hold a summit in Brussels in June instead of a planned G-8 meeting in Sochi in the latest sanction against Russia for President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea.
“We will suspend our participation in the G-8 until Russia changes course,” President Barack Obama and his fellow G-7 leaders said in a statement after a meeting in The Hague this evening. “This clear violation of international law is a serious challenge to the rule of law around the world and should be a concern for all nations.”
The U.S. and its allies have expressed growing concern that Russia is building up its forces on the border with Ukraine after taking control of the Black Sea peninsula. It’s the worst standoff between the former Cold War enemies since the Soviet Union collapsed. Ukraine said today it deployed more troops to the frontier.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov dismissed the G-7 move. “The G-8 is an informal club without memberships,” he told reporters in The Hague. “If western nations feel that the formula of G-8 no longer works, so be it.”
After Putin completed the annexation of Crimea and the two sides exchanged sanctions, attention has shifted to whether Russia will seek to claim other parts of Ukraine. U.S. officials have warned of Russian troop reinforcements, raising concern that it may be preparing to carve off more areas of the east and south.
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