■ Russia Shrugs off Threat of Permanent Expulsion from G8

The Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, has shrugged off the threat of exclusion from meetings of the world’s largest industrial countries and the suspension of the G8, saying that Moscow was “not clinging to” membership of what he described as an informal group.

He drew a comparison between Crimea and Kosovo and asked whether the West wanted “blood to [be] shed” in the same way.

Western diplomats said they expected a joint statement dissolving the G8 group, which has provided a forum for contacts between the western industrialized world and Russia since 1998.

“As long as the political environment for the G8 is not at hand, as is the case at the moment, there is no G8—neither as a concrete summit meeting or even as a format for meetings,” Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said.

(The Guardian)

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