Angela Merkel Won't Invite Putin To G7 Summit, Because You Don't Cross Her & Get Away With It
Despite his popularity at home, the annexation of Crimea has caused dilemma for Vladimir Putin — likely as he expected it would, because, well, invading a sovereign nation, really? Is this the 19th century? — straining a good number of the country's diplomatic relations. On Thursday, yet another strong signal was sent to Russia when German Chancellor and all around kickass leader Angela Merkel said Putin wasn't invited to the G7 meeting that Germany is set to host in June this year.
In an interview published in Allgemeiner Zeitung, Merkel is quoted as saying:
The G7 and former G8 group has always viewed itself as a community of values. The annexation of Crimea, which is a blatant violation of the principles of international law, and the events in eastern Ukraine are serious violations of these common values.
Comprised of seven major industrial countries — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the U.S. — whose finance ministers and central bank governors meet at least semi-annually to discuss economic policies and the global economy, G7, or the Group of Seven, became G8 when Russia joined in 1998. But the country was expelled from the group last year for its role in Ukraine, to which the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov figuratively rolled his eyes and said "whatever, guys." At a news conference on the day of Russia's ejection, Lavrov said, nonchalantly:
G8 is an informal organization that does not give out any membership cards and, by its definition, cannot remove anyone.
Russia's annexing of Crimea has provoked strong responses from the G7. The group has imposed economic sanctions on Russia, which have, along with sanctions from the U.S. and the European Union, collectively weakened the country's already shaky economy — so much so that economists forecast a recession.
According to Reuters, Merkel told the German newspaper that Europe could not consider lifting Russia's sanctions as long as the reasons for imposing them prevailed — that is, until Putin removes the country from the Ukraine crisis — a point she had previously reiterated. Merkel said:
In spring we will discuss the question how to deal with the sanctions that we decided to impose after Russia's annexation of Crimea. Given the current situation, they will remain in place.
That Russia isn't invited to the summit might be somewhat of a relief for Putin. In November at the G20 meeting, Putin endured hours of browbeating from Western leaders over his support for Ukrainian separatists before excusing himself early. Probably fed up with having flown all the way to Brisbane, Australia only to be chastized to no end, Putin had said:
It will take nine hours to fly to Vladivostok and another eight hours to get Moscow. I need four hours sleep before I get back to work on Monday. We have completed our business.
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