A joint statement issued by the White House on behalf of the Group of Seven said they condemned Russia’s "clear violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine"
Western leaders have been scrambling for a unified response to Russia’s intervention in Ukraine’s Crimea even as they conceded that Russian forces were in complete control of the peninsula. Following an emergency meeting of the NATO Council on Sunday, the Foreign Ministers of the European Union met in Brussels on Monday to discuss the Ukraine crisis. The OSCE Swiss chairmanship also called a special meeting in Vienna on Monday.
Despite a flurry of strong condemnations of Russia, the only reaction from Western nations so far has been to suspend arrangements for a G8 meeting in Sochi in June that Russia is to chair.
A joint statement issued by the White House on behalf of the Group of Seven said they condemned Russia’s “clear violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine” and decided to halt “for the time being” preparations for the Sochi summit.
However, the world powers disagreed over whether to banish Russia from the group.
While U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that Russia “may not even remain in the G8 if this continues,” Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier spoke against excluding Russia because G8 is “the only format in which we from the West still speak immediately with Russia.”
Russia claimed the support of China on the Ukraine crisis, but Beijing later articulated a more calibrated stand.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi noted “broadly coinciding points of view of Russia and China over the situation” in Ukraine during a telephonic talk on Sunday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said on Monday that “China’s position is to both maintain principles [of diplomacy and international relations] while also seeking to be realistic.”
One thing that everybody seems to agree upon is that Russian forces are in complete control of Crimea.
“Russia has … in effect taken control of the Crimea,” Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague said before heading to Kiev for talks with Ukraine’s new leaders.
Ukrainian border guards in Kiev said on Monday Russia had sent more reinforcements to Crimea, in violation of an agreement on the Russian lease of a naval base in Crimea. However, experts said Russian force build-up may not violate the accord under which Russia can deploy up to 25,000 troops in Crimea, whereas it had 16,000 troops on the ground before the current crisis broke out.