The G8 (Minus Russia) Just Condemned Russia
The 2014 G8 summit in Sochi just got a lot more complicated. And empty.
The G7 (which is the G8 except for one country -- can you guess which one?) just issued a statement denouncing Russia's actions in Ukraine and suspending their participation in this year's G8 Summit, scheduled to take place in Sochi in June:
We, the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States and the President of the European Council and President of the European Commission, join together today to condemn the Russian Federation's clear violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, in contravention of Russia's obligations under the UN Charter and its 1997 basing agreement with Ukraine.
Russia's actions in the Ukraine also contravene the principles and values on which the G-7 and the G-8 operate. As such, we have decided for the time being to suspend our participation in activities associated with the preparation of the scheduled G-8 Summit in Sochi in June, until the environment comes back where the G-8 is able to have a meaningful discussion.
Some G8 members (the US and the UK) previously announced that they would not be participating in Summit planning following Russia's invasion of the Ukraine. Now it's all of them except for the one that's doing the invading.
Earlier today, Secretary of State John Kerry said Russia could be kicked out of the G8 if it didn't pull out of Ukraine. President Putin is also the president of the G8, so that's awkward. Upon becoming the president of the G8 at the beginning of this year, Putin issued a statement saying: "the motto of Russia's G8 Presidency in 2014" is "risk management for sustainable growth in a safe world." One way to do this, said the statement, was "settling regional conflicts."
"Russia is open to cooperating and dialogue," the statement concluded. "We have much to do, and we are confident that this work will bring about a significant, positive result."
Russia joined the G7 to form the G8 in 1997. In last year's G8 summit, Putin was criticized by the other leaders for his support of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad. Good to see he took that to heart.