Western Nations Cancel G8 Summit Planned for Sochi

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British Prime Minister David Cameron attends the opening session of the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague March 24, 2014.Credit: Reuters

The G8 group of industrialized nations will not meet in Sochi, Russia, this year as planned, British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Monday.

"We should be clear there's not going to be a G8 summit this year in Russia. That's absolutely clear," Cameron told reporters at a nuclear security summit in The Hague.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov responded to the decision by declaring that the cancelation posed no problem for his country: "If our Western partners believe the format has exhausted itself, we don't cling to this format. We don't believe it will be a big problem if it doesn't convene," Lavrov told reporters in The Hague, where G7 leaders are meeting without Russian President Vladimir Putin.

According to Reuters, the White House issued a statement later on Monday saying that as long as Russia is violating international law in Ukraine, there is no need for it to engage with the G7.

Cameron, U.S. President Barack Obama and other G8 leaders are expected to meet on the margins of the summit to discuss additional punitive moves against Russia, following its annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.

The Group of Eight was created in Birmingham in 1998 in a bid to weld Russia into the international order by adding it to G7 summits of the world's richest industrialized countries: Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the US and Canada.

Russia currently holds the group's rotating presidency.

The western powers are expected to inform Russian President Vladimir Putin that the G8 "does not exist" until he takes steps towards cooperating with a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis.

"After he annexed Crimea, his showcase summit in Sochi is off and he'll be warned the game is up if Russia continues to stir up conflict. As well as sanctions, Putin must learn that his actions are going to lead to a loss of personal prestige and a diminishment of his power," one western official said.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are also scheduled to meet in the Hague.

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