Russian Invasion of Crimea Has Been Condemned by G7, But Supported by China
In spite of repeated demands to the contrary from the West, Russia has continued its invasion of Crimea. Thousands of Russian troops have reportedly pooled into the peninsula, and there are now rumors of ship and armor movements as well. The situation has reached such drastic levels that British Foreign Secretary William Hague has called it the "biggest crisis" to hit Europe this century.
Even after repeated warnings from the international community, on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov defended Russia's military presence in Ukraine, saying that troops would remain "until the normalization of the political situation." According to the BBC World Affairs Editor John Simpson, Russia has now "taken control" of the strategically-important Crimean peninsula. Significantly, though, this seems to have been through threat alone, "without, apparently, a shot being fired."
In response to Russia's military invasion, the Group of Seven (known more commonly as just the G-7) has officially put on hold the this summer's G-8 summit in Sochi. As Bustle previously explained, this was to be expected:
The Group of Eight, or G-8, is an economic forum ostensibly comprised of the world’s largest industrialized democracies. Russia joined in 1998, and the group’s next conference is set to be held in Sochi in June. The U.S. is almost certainly going to either boycott that meeting or force it to be rescheduled elsewhere, but the West could also respond by kicking Russia out of G-8 altogether. On Sunday, Kerry said that this option is on the table: “[Putin] is not going to have a Sochi G-8. He may not even remain in the G-8 if this continues,” Kerry said.
On Monday, the group officially put a stopper in the conference's preparations, again condemning Russia's invasion of Crimea : "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," the G7 said in a statement. "We have decided for the time being to suspend our participation in activities associated with the preparation of the scheduled G8 Summit in Sochi in June."
The group also promised to lend financial support to Ukraine (if, that is, the new Ukrainian government works with them on some economic reforms): "We are united in our commitment to provide strong financial backing to Ukraine," the G7 ministers said. "The transition to a new government in Ukraine offers a unique opportunity to put in place urgently needed market-oriented reforms."
Old alliances are fast forming again, though. Backing Russia against the force of the G-7 is China: According to Lavrov, China is “in agreement” with the Russian government on their handling of the situation in Ukraine. Apparently, they have "broadly coinciding points of view."
"Cold War" cries are fast seeming less and less like hyperbole.