John Kerry: Russia Could Be Kicked Out Of G8

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 2 2014 11:19 AM

John Kerry: Russia Could Be Kicked Out Of G8

Secretary of State John Kerry had tough words for Russia on Sunday, accusing President Vladimir Putin of “possibly trying to annex Crimea. Even though Putin hasn’t shown he much cares about Washington’s opinion, Kerry warned on NBC that he would “lose on the international stage, Russia is going to lose, the Russian people are going to lose, and he's going to lose all of the glow that came out of the Olympics, his $60 billion extravaganza.” Speaking on ABC, Kerry emphasized that “all options are on the table,” but was sure to note that economic sanctions on businesses and individuals were likely the first steps rather than military confrontation.

As the White House has been warning for days, Kerry noted the “distinct possibility” that the United States will boycott the G8, which is scheduled to be held in Sochi in June. But he also went on to say that Russia could be kicked out of the Group of 8 developed nations if it doesn’t back down. If he refuses to back down Putin “is not going have a Sochi G8, he may not even remain in the G8 if this continues. He may find himself with asset freezes, on Russian business, American business may pull back, there may be a further tumble of the ruble,” Kerry said, according to the AFP. On ABC, Kerry said Moscow was guilty of carrying out “a 19th century act in the 21st century and it really puts at question Russia’s capacity to be within the G8.”

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Republicans harshly criticized President Obama on Sunday, saying Washington now finds itself in a problem of its own making. Sen. Lindsey Graham said that Obama is “a weak and indecisive president” and that “invites aggression,” reports USA Today. For his part, Rep. Mike Rogers suggested Putin feels free to ignore Obama because the Russians have been “running circles around us” in several international negotiations relating to issues such as Syria and missile defense.

For now, it seems there are very limited options to what the United States and its allies can do as world powers increasingly believe Ukraine has permanently lost Crimea to Russia, notes Reuters.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.