The United States and the leaders of six other world powers on Monday voted to exclude Russia from the Group of 8 as punishment for Moscow's annexation of Crimea. The G8 was to meet in Sochi, Russia, later this year, but the group will now meet in Brussels — sans Russian representatives.
In a joint statement, the U.S., the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, France, Germany, and Italy said the move was intended to "reaffirm our support for Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence." But the nations noted that they were only suspending Russia until it "changes course," and warned of coordinated sanctions should it instead "continue to escalate this situation."
Russia, for its part, isn't too worried about the move, with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov saying he doesn't "see a great misfortune" in being excluded from the G8, and dinging the group as "an informal organization that does not give out any membership cards."