THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Western nations and Japan say they are suspending their participation in the Group of Eight until Russia “changes course.”
In a joint statement, the Group of Seven nations say they will instead meet without Russia. The move is aimed at isolating Moscow as punishment for its annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.
The G7 nations issued the statement following an emergency meeting Monday in the Netherlands. The leaders say they are ready to “intensity actions” against Russian is Moscow escalates the conflict further.
President Barack Obama and Western allies moved to indefinitely cut Moscow out of a major international coalition on Monday, including canceling an economic summit Russian President Vladimir Putin was to host this summer.
The moves came amid a flurry of diplomatic jockeying as the U.S. and Europe grappled for ways to punish Russia for its annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and to prevent Moscow from pressing further into Ukraine.
A Western diplomat said the G7 leaders will instead meet in Brussels in June. The choice of location was symbolic, putting the meeting in the headquarters city of the European Union and NATO, two organizations seeking to bolster ties with Ukraine.