The United States and six other Western nations voted to effectively kick Russia out of the G8 in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea, a White House statement said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov downplayed the significance of the move.
“G8 is an informal organization that does not give out any membership cards and, by its definition, cannot remove anyone,” he said at a news conference. “All the economic and financial questions are decided in G20.”
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Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and the speakers of the country’s upper and lower houses of Parliament signed a deal today that formally annexes Ukraine’s Crimea region.
Russia’s upper house of Parliament unanimously approved the ratification of the treaty today, a day after the lower house, the State Duma, overwhelmingly passed it.
Russia’s moves to annex Crimea, following a contested weekend referendum in the Black Sea peninsula, have turned a confrontation with Europe and the United States into the biggest crisis in East-West relations since the Cold War.
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THE DAILY BEAST
Obama Has 4 Days to Stop Putin
Vladimir Putin has agreed to a ceasefire in Ukraine until March 21, leaving the Obama administration with just a few days to prevent an all-out war, report Eli Lake and Josh Rogin. It looks like U.S. sanctions aren’t much of a threat: Russian investment firm Marco Advisory predicts the West will not impose “disruptive” or “catastrophic” sanctions, at least until Russia crosses another line. Obama knows he needs to make a stronger move, he just needs to decide what.
SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine — Lawmakers in the embattled Crimean region of Ukraine have decided to hold a referendum March 16 on whether Crimea should become part of Russia.
“This is our response to the disorder and lawlessness in Kiev,” Sergei Shuvainikov, a member of the local Crimean legislature, said Thursday. “We will decide our future ourselves.