If Vladimir Putin and his entourage were bet­ting that the G‑8 sum­mit could still go for­ward with­out the par­tic­i­pa­tion of the Unit­ed States, Cana­da, France, and the Unit­ed King­dom in the wake of their inva­sion of Ukraine, they were mistaken.

The White House has announced that the oth­er three G‑7 coun­tries (Ger­many, Italy, and Japan) are also sus­pend­ing their par­tic­i­pa­tion in the 2014 G‑8 Sum­mit, which had been sched­uled to take place in Sochi.

Here’s the joint statement:

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, in con­tra­ven­tion of Russia’s oblig­a­tions under the UN Char­ter and its 1997 bas­ing agree­ment with Ukraine. We call on Rus­sia to address any ongo­ing secu­ri­ty or human rights con­cerns that it has with Ukraine through direct nego­ti­a­tions, and/or via inter­na­tion­al obser­va­tion or medi­a­tion under the aus­pices of the UN or the Orga­ni­za­tion for Secu­ri­ty and Coop­er­a­tion in Europe. We stand ready to assist with these efforts.

We also call on all par­ties con­cerned to behave with the great­est extent of self-restraint and respon­si­bil­i­ty, and to decrease the tensions.

We note that Russia’s actions in Ukraine also con­tra­vene the prin­ci­ples and val­ues on which the G‑7 and the G‑8 operate.

As such, we have decid­ed for the time being to sus­pend our par­tic­i­pa­tion in activ­i­ties asso­ci­at­ed with the prepa­ra­tion of the sched­uled G‑8 Sum­mit in Sochi in June, until the envi­ron­ment comes back where the G‑8 is able to have mean­ing­ful discussion.

We are unit­ed in sup­port­ing Ukraine’s sov­er­eign­ty and ter­ri­to­r­i­al integri­ty, and its right to choose its own future. We com­mit our­selves to sup­port Ukraine in its efforts to restore uni­ty, sta­bil­i­ty, and polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic health to the coun­try. To that end, we will sup­port Ukraine’s work with the Inter­na­tion­al Mon­e­tary Fund to nego­ti­ate a new pro­gram and to imple­ment need­ed reforms. IMF sup­port will be crit­i­cal in unlock­ing addi­tion­al assis­tance from the World Bank, oth­er inter­na­tion­al finan­cial insti­tu­tions, the EU, and bilat­er­al sources.

After the U.S., U.K., France, and Cana­da made it clear that their par­tic­i­pa­tion in the G‑8 Sum­mit was on ice, Putin’s spokesman dis­mis­sive­ly declared, “It’s not a minus for Rus­sia… it will be a minus for the G‑8”, imply­ing that the sum­mit was still going for­ward. But if no oth­er nation is attend­ing, it isn’t a sum­mit at all. How is it not a minus for Rus­sia if nobody shows up to Vladimir Putin’s par­ty in Sochi?

The G‑7 nations — all mem­bers of NATO except for Japan — have the option of meet­ing with­out Rus­sia at anoth­er time and place, and such a con­fer­ence might end up dis­plac­ing the G‑8 Sum­mit that Rus­sia was going to host. That is Rus­si­a’s loss, whether Putin and his press flacks want to acknowl­edge it or not.

Dis­turbing­ly, The New York Times reports that Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel was left with a bad impres­sion fol­low­ing her phone con­ver­sa­tion with Putin this week­end. Merkel is said to have told Oba­ma that she was­n’t sure if Putin was in touch with real­i­ty or not. If Putin is indeed oper­at­ing “in anoth­er world,” as Merkel alleged­ly said, that’s not good news for prospects of a quick res­o­lu­tion to this crisis.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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