The world's leading industrialized nations meet without Russia for the first time in 17 years on Wednesday, leaving President Vladimir Putin out of the talks in retaliation for his seizure of Crimea and Russia's part in destabilizing eastern Ukraine; calling on Russia to stop its intervention in order to overcome this critical situation.
The two-day Group of Seven (G-7) summit, taking place in Brussels rather than the previously planned Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, will cover foreign policy, economics, trade and energy security.
The decision to drop Russia from the group was taken by its other members – the United States, Germany, France, Britain, Canada, Japan and Italy – in March, after Moscow seized Crimea and annexed it, a move not recognized internationally.
Since then, the EU and the United States have imposed travel bans and asset freezes on senior Russian and Crimean officials and threatened to apply much harder-hitting economic and trade measures if Moscow is deemed for have further destabilized eastern Ukraine.
At the same time, another official added: "We cannot exclude that if there is an aggravation of the situation, the European Union or the G7 will have to consider further measures against Russia".
Russia denies that it is behind the revolt in eastern Ukraine. It also asserts the right to protect Russian-speakers in the region.
On the other hand, Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, will meet today U.S. counterpart, John Kerry, in Paris.
amsi.com & agencies.