G8 suspends Russia amid tensions

Published Tuesday, 18 March 2014
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World leaders have taken the decision to suspend Russia from the G8, and the UK has suspended all arms exports, over President Vladimir Putin bid to reclaim Crimea from the Ukraine.

G8 suspends Russia amid tensions
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaking in the Kremlin in Moscow on Tuesday. (© Getty)

The move to suspend Russia's participation in the Group of 8 was confirmed on Tuesday by France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius - but the signing of a treaty to annex Crimea later went ahead.

"It is envisaged that all the other countries, the seven leading countries, will unite without Russia," Mr Fabius added, speaking on Europe-1 radio.

The G8 leaders meet annually to discuss key issues of global significance, with the last summit held at Lough Erne in Co Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, in June and focusing on the state of the world economy.

Russia was the most recent world power to join the group, back in 1998 - joining France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Italy and Canada.

This year's annual summit had been scheduled to be held in the Russian city of Sochi in June, but preparations for that had already been suspended by the other seven member countries.

The crisis in Ukraine is the most serious test of European security in the 21st century so far.

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague

Russia's suspension comes as the US and European Union announced fresh sanctions against the country, in response to the situation in the Crimean Peninsula.

President Putin's approval of a draft bill to annex Crimea led to travel bans and asset freezes being imposed on senior Moscow officials.

But that treaty has since been signed, following a televised address by President Putin on Tuesday in which he defended the return of Crimea to Russia and accused the West of encouraging unrest.

He also claimed the rights of ethnic Russians had been abused by the government in the Ukraine.

A referendum in Crimea, which returned a 96% vote in favour of splitting from Kiev and becoming part of Russia again, had been dismissed as illegal by the West.

After the signing of the treaty, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague told the House of Commons that there was a "grave danger" of further military escalation by Russia.

He added that it would be necessary to "increase the pressure" being put on Moscow, as it had "run roughshod" over international law.

"No amount of sham and perverse democratic process or skewed historical references can make up for the fact that this is an incursion into a sovereign state and a land grab of part of its territory with no respect for the law of that country or for international law," Mr Hague said.

According to US President Barack Obama, continued intervention by Moscow in the Ukraine will "achieve nothing, except to further isolate Russia and diminish its place in the world".

EU leaders held an emergency session two weeks ago to impose sanctions on Russia, but many member states have concerns about the impact of trade sanctions on fragile European economies.

Oil supplies are a particular concern, with Europe heavily reliant on Russia.

© UTV News
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6 Comments
culchy in the stix wrote (195 days ago):
David Cameron won't be pleased if arms sales are down. Then again, given that these G8 summits etc take place behind closed doors, can't help but wonder if this was all pre-orchestrated. World War 3 won't happen by accident.
Equality in Belfast wrote (195 days ago):
To taxi paul i totally agree with you but there are thousands of PUL out there with Irish passports but do not count themselves as Irish so the statement is a bit misleading is it not. The vote can be rigged. Was the vote here not rigged for years. Nationalists did not even get a vote in some cases. There needs to be some nutrality in the voting to give a better understanding of the outcome. That is like saying all the votes during the Carson years were administered right. The government now still does not have proper stats for all Irish speaking gaels in the north eastern part of this country. Lets get a fairer and more just look at the region then decide. We are hearing from the Tories and Obama, and i would not trust either.
Iain in Belfast wrote (197 days ago):
Dear oh dear. Taxi Paul I think you need to read up on the history of Crimea to grasp the actual facts. Helps to do that before giving off about it.
dev in international space station wrote (198 days ago):
the thought of the uk and david cameron making threats against russia is a joke the uk couldnt go to war with the faroe islands at present
None of the above in Belfast wrote (198 days ago):
Are these politicans for real??? Accusing Russia of a land grab and an incursion into a foreign state!!! What have the UK, France and America been doin for the past 15 years???? Iraq, Afghanistian........ Any sign of those weapons of mass destruction yet???? Old Saddam has hid thise bad boys well a real hide and seek champion lol. They word hypocrite comes to mind. I suppose the reason they are up in arms against Russia is because its not the west meddeling in other countries affairs this time and its not a dictator that they are trying to install!
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