German Chancellor Angela Merkel refuted late on March 18 French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius’s statement that Russia had been excluded from the G8. As reported by DPA, Merkel added that Germany and the international community’s Russian policy would emphasize “sanctions coupled with dialog.”
Foreign relations expert, senior associate at the European Carnegie Center in Brussels Ulrich Speck told The Day that the EU’s common position was for now a temporary suspension of Russian participation in the G8. Therefore, in his opinion, March 20 EU summit will be a key event.
“We will see whether EU leaders will react to the annexation of the Crimea with severe sanctions. The problem is that the whole of Ukraine and possibly Transnistria, too, are in play now. EU leaders are afraid of losing contact with the Kremlin if they respond with drastic measures. They want to keep the powder dry in case Putin will continue to destabilize Ukraine. That will be the moment to apply significant economic pressure,” the German expert stressed.