G7 Summit without Russia with Ukraine in Focus

Written by | Thursday, June 5th, 2014

Meeting in Brussels for the first time, the leaders of the world’s leading industrialized nations Group of Seven (G7) – the US, Germany, France, UK, Italy, Canada and Japan, as well as the presidents of the EU Council and Commission – issued a communiqué, stressing their readiness to intensify targeted sanctions against Russia “and to implement significant additional restrictive measures to impose further costs on Russia should events so require”. G7 leaders also called on Russia to recognize the result of the recent Ukrainian Presidential election, to ensure that the flow of weapons and militants across the border will stop, and cooperate with the authorities in Kiev. German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the press that Western leaders are ready pressure Moscow into using its influence on pro-Russian separatists and added that “If we do not have progress in the questions we have to solve, there is the possibility of sanctions — even heavier phase 3 sanctions — on the table, because we cannot afford a further destabilization in Ukraine.”
Meanwhile, French President François Hollande has been described as the peacemaker, following the working dinner of the G7 leaders yesterday (4 June), during which he proposed to host further diplomatic contacts, involving the leaders of Russia and Ukraine, today and tomorrow. Hollande has invited also Russian President Vladimir Putin to join a celebration of D-Day in Normandy tomorrow (6 June), which is hosted by the French President, presenting this event as a “continuation” of the effort of G7 to solve the Ukrainian crisis. However, Hollande is likely to face criticism that Putin’s invitation could be interpreted by Moscow that relations were returning to normal after Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Putin and Poroshenko would reportedly meet in Normandy, as both sides have sent signals that they may be ready to speak to each other for the first time since the latter was elected as Ukrainian’s new President. While telling the press that he was prepared to speak to Obama, President Putin, on his part, again denied that any Russian military men or instructors were operating in southeastern Ukraine.

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