Obama, Merkel Take Hardline Stance Against Russia At G7

The G7 summit kicked off with a bang on Sunday, as President Obama and Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, took a strong stance against Russian aggression in the Ukraine, issuing a warning to Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to an article from CTV News. Chancellor Merkel said that she expected the G7 nations to send a “united signal” to Russia.

Last year, the summit – then the G8 – would have included Russia’s Putin among their number, but the nation was ousted from the group for their annexation of Crimea. At the time, as reported by the New York Times, President Obama urged the group not to press stronger sanctions against what a senior in the Obama administration called “vital sectors of the Russian economy,” stating that those sanctions would be reserved for more severe aggression from Russia against the Ukraine, a stance that the G7 recorded in a statement called the Hague Declaration.

Fast-forward to today, and President Obama is now urging the G7 leaders to extend those sanctions until Russia complies with Putin’s promises under the Minsc agreements – a set of measures agreed-upon between the leaders of France, Germany, Russia, and the Ukraine, which Russia continues to fail to uphold, according to the International Business Times.

As the Inquisitr previously reported, President Vladimir Putin of Russia continues to do his best to quell fears that war may break out between Russian and NATO forces, but his actions seem to speak louder than his words. In spite of the Minsc agreements, intelligence reports state that Russia persists in “sustaining and directing the fighting there,” in direct contravention of Putin’s assurances that Russia desires peace.

Given their actions, it seems as if Russia’s “desire for peace” is contingent upon their being the ones to enforce it on a subjugated Ukraine. Of course, according to Putin, nothing could be further from the truth, as he told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

“I would like to say – there’s no need to be afraid of Russia. The world has changed so much that people in their right mind cannot imagine such a large-scale military conflict today. We have other things to do, I can assure you. Only a sick person — and even then only in his sleep — can imagine that Russia would suddenly attack NATO.”

“The problem is that representatives of the current Kiev authorities do not even want to sit down to talks with them. And there is nothing we can do about it.”

Sincere or not, Obama, Merkel and the G7 aren’t buying it, and Russia will continue to face sanctions.

[Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images]

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