G7 leaders threaten Russia with new Ukraine sanctions
First meeting of G7 leaders since Putin was expelled is focused on world economy and climate change
The G7 group of industrialised nations, meeting in Brussels today, has warned Russia that it is prepared to impose further sanctions in retaliation for the annexation of Crimea, and other disputed actions in the east of Ukraine.
It is the first time the leaders of the seven countries – and of their central banks – have met without their Russian counterparts, who were thrown out for the "continuing violation" of Ukraine's sovereignty, the BBC reports. So what else is on the agenda?
Which nations form the G7 now?
The group now consists of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the USA and the UK. Russia has not formally been expelled – but the other nations decided in late March to "suspend" the G8 format, moving a planned summit from Sochi, Russia, to Brussels. One foreign minister told the FT then that "in the long term we want Russia to be part of the group".
What happened yesterday?
The summit started last night with a working dinner at which leaders agreed they would warn Russia of fresh sanctions. Speaking to the press beforehand, Barack Obama accused Vladimir Putin of reviving the "dark tactics" of Russia's past, The Independent said. Last night, Germany’s Angela Merkel warned of the "possibility" of "heavier sanctions" but French president Francois Hollande was more conciliatory, saying the necessary conditions were there for Russia to "de-escalate" the crisis.
What are they discussing today?
Ukraine is not a formal part of today’s agenda, which is dominated by the global economic outlook, climate change strategies and development issues, according to the BBC.
Is anybody speaking to Putin?
Yes – the Russian premier will hold face-to-face meetings with Merkel, Hollande and David Cameron in the next few days. He has been invited by Hollande to attend commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, where he will stand alongside Obama. Also present at the ceremony will be Ukraine’s president-elect, the billionaire sweet manufacturer Petro Poroshenko, who said he did not rule out a meeting with Putin.