LONDON – British Prime Minister David Cameron said Wednesday that G7 nations meeting next week must discuss the permanent expulsion of Russia from the wider Group of 8 if it takes further action to destabilize Ukraine.
US President Barack Obama has called for a G7 summit — minus current G8 chairman Russia — on the sidelines of a nuclear security summit in The Hague on Monday and Tuesday to discuss the escalating showdown over Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
“I think it’s important we move together with our allies and partners, and I think we should be discussing whether or not to expel Russia permanently from the G8 if further steps are taken,” Cameron told parliament.
“That’s the meeting we’ll have on Monday and I think that’s the right way to proceed.”
Cameron was responding to questions from opposition Labor leader Ed Miliband, in a rare mention of foreign policy during the weekly prime minister’s questions session in Britain’s lower house of parliament.
The premier said any move by Russia beyond Crimea into eastern Ukraine should also result in the “toughest possible” economic and diplomatic sanctions.
Cameron added that Britain had been one of the first countries to suspend involvement in preparatory meetings for the G8 summit due to be held in June in the Russian Winter Olympic resort of Sochi.
He said he would push for further European Union sanctions at a meeting in Brussels on Thursday, following the imposition of travel bans and asset freezes on Monday against Russian and Crimean officials.
Britain on Tuesday announced that it had suspended all military cooperation with Russia and halted export licenses for military material.