World leaders unlikely to expel Russia from G8: Canadian expert
Published Monday, March 24, 2014 9:29AM EDT
While Prime Minister Stephen Harper seems to be leading the charge to kick Russia out of the G8, one Canadian expert says it’s “very unlikely” that member nations will vote unanimously in favour of the expulsion.
Julia Kulik, a senior researcher at the University of Toronto-based Global Governance Program, believes G7 leaders will likely vote to skip an upcoming summit in Sochi, but refrain from declaring that they’ll never again attend another summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“And I don’t think it’s in their best interest to do so,” she told CTV’s Canada AM on Monday.
The G7 group consists of Canada, U.S., United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan. Russia joined in 1998 to form the G8 group, but G7 nations still meet separately.
Harper and other G7 leaders will hold emergency talks Monday in The Hague to discuss Russia’s annexation of Crimea, a southern peninsula in Ukraine.
Harper has suggested that Russia be expelled from the G8, saying that Putin can’t be trusted. He’s also expected to urge his counterparts at Monday’s meeting to consider further sanctions against Russia in light of the Ukraine crisis.
If, “by chance,” G7 leaders vote Monday to expel Russia from the G8, that would be “very detrimental” to Putin, who greatly cares about his international reputation, Kulik said.
Harper is the only G7 leader who visited Ukraine after the controversial Crimea referendum that paved the way for Putin to declare the Black Sea peninsula a part of Russian territory.
During his weekend visit to Kyiv, Harper called for a “complete reversal” of Russia’s actions in Crimea.
Kulik said Harper often makes “clear, firm statements,” such as his tough position on Russia, at G8 meetings. That’s because the G8 is a small group where every country has an equal voice, she said.
“I think that’s why Harper chooses to use it as a forum.”