After Kicking Out Russia, The G8 Is Now The G7
This year's G8 summit won't be in Sochi, Russia as planned. And it won't include Russia at all, after the seven other world leaders in the group of industrialized nations decided to give Russia the boot. The seven leaders met at the behest of President Obama, and instead of Sochi, the now G7's summer meeting will happen in Brussels. In a statement, the G7 explained their reasoning. Surprise! It has to do with Russia's annexation of Crimea:
"International law prohibits the acquisition of part or all of another state's territory through coercion or force. To do so violates the principles upon which the international system is built. We condemn the illegal referendum held in Crimea in violation of Ukraine's constitution. We also strongly condemn Russia's illegal attempt to annex Crimea in contravention of international law and specific international obligations."
The G7 also threatened more sanctions against Russia for the annexation.
Meanwhile, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has already suggested that Russia was kind of over the G8 anyway: "If our Western partners believe the format has exhausted itself, we don't cling to this format. We don't believe it will be a big problem if it doesn't convene," he told Reuters. Lavrov added, "The G8 is an informal club. No one hands out membership cards and no one can be kicked out of it."
The diplomatic spat about Russia's membership in — and the significance of — the G8 came as Ukraine ordered its troops to withdraw from the Crimean peninsula. Russian forces have taken over several Ukrainian military bases in Crimea since the region declared itself to be part of Russia