Since Russia was expelled from the G8 over the controversial annexation of Crimea in March, the group is now the G7.
Other remaining members of the international forum of leading industrialised countries include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, with the European Union also being represented. They have unanimously declared the Russian annexation of Crimea as a “continuing violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.” This was the first time the G8 met without Russia in 17 years.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (photo: Reuters)
Despite the loss, the G7 are meeting on Thursday to discuss international economic projections on trade, climate change, and energy, and also plan on addressing the continuing political violence taking place in Ukraine. The meeting was originally scheduled to take place in Sochi, but will now take place in Brussels in light of Russia’s expulsion.
(from front to back) Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.S. President Barack Obama, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and France’s President Francois Hollande at the G7 summit (photo: Reuters)
On Wednesday, the G7 leaders readily threatened more severe sanctions on Russia unless it intervenes to remove pro-Russian militias in Ukraine.
Foreign policy adviser to US President Obama, Ben Rhodes, told the Associated Press that the G7 would specifically be “reviewing whether or not Russia is continuing to destabilize Eastern Ukraine and whether or not Russia is continuing to support separatist groups.”