The G7 group of top economic powers have kicked out Russia from the powerful G8 over its annexation of Crimea and threatened to impose far-reaching sanctions if Moscow continued its incursion into Ukraine. The US and six other economic powers also scrapped the G8 summit to be hosted by Russia in Sochi in June to build pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin against his military action in Ukraine.
At an emergency summit in the Hague yesterday, the leaders of the US, Britain, Canada, Germany, France, Italy and Japan - who met for the first time since Russia was admitted to their exclusive club 16 years ago, cancelled the planned G8 summit and decided to convene without Russia in Brussels.
"We will suspend our participation in the G8 until Russia changes course and the environment comes back to where the G8 is able to have a meaningful discussion and will meet again in G7 format at the same time as planned, in June 2014, in Brussels, to discuss the broad agenda we have together," the G7 countries said in a joint statement.
The G7 leaders also reaffirmed their support for Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence, and pledged to assist the country as its seeks to restore unity, democracy and political stability based on the interim government's reform agenda.
The Group of Eight (G8)
is a forum for the governments of a group of eight leading industrialised countries. Upon suspension of Russia on March 24, 2014 due to the Crimea crisis, the existence of the G8 designation has now been merged with that of the G7 group of nations. The forum originated with a 1975 summit hosted by France that brought together representatives of six governments: France, West Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, thus leading to the name Group of Six or G6. The summit became known as the Group of Seven or G7 the following year with the addition of Canada. The G7 is composed of the seven wealthiest developed countries on Earth (by national net wealth or by GDP), and it remained active even during the period of the G8. Russia was added to the group from 1998 to 2014, which then became known as the G8. The European Union is represented within the G8 but could not host or chair summits.
"G8" can refer to the member states in aggregate or to the annual summit meeting of the G8 heads of government. The former term, G6, is now frequently applied to the six most populous countries within the European Union. G8 ministers also meet throughout the year, such as the G7/8 finance ministers (who meet four times a year), G8 foreign ministers, or G8 environment ministers. Collectively, in 2012 the G8 nations comprised 50.1% of 2012 global nominal GDP and 40.9% of global GDP (PPP). Each calendar year the responsibility of hosting the G8 is rotated through the member states in the following order: France, United States, United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, Japan, Italy, and Canada. The holder of the presidency sets the agenda, hosts the summit for that year, and determines which ministerial meetings will take place. Both France and the United Kingdom have expressed a desire to expand the group to include five developing countries, referred to as the Outreach Five (O5) or the Plus Five: Brazil (7th country in the world by nominal GDP), People's Republic of China (2nd country in the world by GDP), India (10th country in the world by GDP), Mexico, and South Africa. These countries have participated as guests in meetings which are sometimes called G8+5.