G7 nations suspend collaboration with Russia over Crimea annexation

Eurasia News

THE HAGUE: The group of industrialized nations known as the G7 has suspended its collaboration with Russia in the G8 group in response to the annexation of Crimea and has threatened sweeping sanctions in the event of any Russian military moves in the region.

In a joint statement issued after a meeting of the G7 leaders from US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan in The Hague, they said that they would not attend a planned G8 summit in Sochi in June but would instead convene without Russia in Brussels.

The group’s foreign ministers would also boycott a planned G8 meeting in Moscow in April.

The statement said that Russia’s actions were not consistent with the shared beliefs and shared responsibilities that had made the formation of the G8 possible.

“We remain ready to intensify actions including co-ordinated sectoral sanctions that will have an increasingly significant impact on the Russian economy, if Russia continues to escalate this situation,” the statement said.

Russia brushes off Western threat to expel it from G8

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov brushed off the Western threat to expel it from the G8.

“G8 is an informal organization that does not give out any membership cards and, by its definition, cannot remove anyone,” Lavrov said during a news conference.

“If our Western partners believe that this organizational format has outlived, so be it. At least, we are not attached to this format and we don’t see a great misfortune if it will not gather. Maybe, for a year or two, it will be an experiment for us to see how we live without it,” Lavrov said.