The world’s top industrial powers threatened further sanctions to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin from taking over other parts of Ukraine and suspended Russia from participating in the Group of Eight.
Meeting for the first time since last week’s annexation of Crimea by Russia, Group of Seven leaders said last night they won’t attend a planned G-8 meeting which was to have been held in Sochi, site of the Winter Olympics, and will instead hold their own summit in June in Brussels.
Both sides in Ukraine’s crisis spent the day calculating what to do next, with Russia consolidating its control over Crimea and maintaining forces along the border with Ukraine in the most serious confrontation between Moscow and the U.S. and its allies since the demise of the Soviet Union.
“While a Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine can by no means be excluded, Putin must surely calculate that it would be a poor and risky option,” Roderic Lyne, deputy chairman of Chatham House and a former U.K. ambassador to Moscow, said in a website comment. “He also knows that it would trigger much deeper Western sanctions, which would hit his Achilles heel –- Russia’s declining, unreformed economy.”