The leaders issued a joint statement, under the title of the Hague Declaration, reaffirming support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and saying they would not attend a planned G8 summit in Sochi in June but would instead meet without Russia in Brussels.
The group's foreign ministers will also boycott a planned G8 meeting in Moscow in April.
How I See It
Gavin Devine, chief executive, MHP Communications
The decision to cancel this year’s G8 meeting in Russia is a hit.
The modern world of politics and diplomacy is built on principles that Russia has blatantly ignored through its actions in Crimea and its attitude towards Ukraine.
Letting Russia host a Potemkin summit after what it has done in the past few weeks would have been a sham. Suspension from the G8 and cancellation of the meeting in Russia at last sends a signal that Moscow’s actions do have repercussions.
However, this is a single ‘hit’ in a sea of ‘misses’. So far the vaunted principles of the Western democracies at times seem to have been secondary to self-interest – for example, in cheap gas or in oligarch money.
It only involves a little hyperbole to point out the parallels with the 1930s: letting Russia get away with this will have long-term consequences.
Western leaders need to do more than send a gesture, cancelling a trip to the seaside in Sochi. They must take real, painful, measures that will make Russia and others think twice about blatantly breaking international rules of behaviour.