President Obama and the leaders of other major industrialized countries not only canceled a G8 meeting in Sochi, they effectively kicked Russia right out of the group. Condemning Vladimir Putin's "illegal attempt to annex Crimea," the group said goodbye to Russia after 16 years, CNN reports. The statement followed a two-hour meeting at the Hague behind closed doors between the G8's seven remaining members: the US, Canada, Japan, and Europe's four largest economies, the New York Times reports. "We will suspend our participation in the G8 until Russia changes course," the group said.
In their first face-to-face meeting since Russia invaded Crimea last month, the world leaders agreed that more punishments (such as broader sanctions) will follow if Russia doesn't dial down its aggressions. But Russia's Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, today shrugged off the notion of exclusion from the G8. "If our Western partners believe that this organizational format has outlived, so be it," he said. "Maybe, for a year or two, it will be an experiment for us to see how we live without it."