G8: Group of Seven will exclude Russia from this year's summit.

Sochi's G8 Summit Will Instead Be Brussels' G7

Sochi's G8 Summit Will Instead Be Brussels' G7

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March 24 2014 4:21 PM

Sochi's G8 Summit Will Instead Be Brussels' G7

Western leaders say there won't be a spot at the table for Vladimir Putin this summer

Photo by Jerry Lampen/Getty Images

Make that the G7, via the New York Times:

President Obama and the leaders of the biggest Western economies agreed on Monday to exclude President Vladimir V. Putin from the Group of 8, suspending his government’s 15-year participation in the diplomatic forum and further isolating his country.
In a joint statement after a two-hour, closed-door meeting of the four largest economies in Europe, along with Japan and Canada, the leaders of the seven nations announced that a summit meeting planned for Sochi, Russia, in June will now be held in Brussels — without Russia’s participation.
“This group came together because of shared beliefs and shared responsibilities. Russia’s actions in recent weeks are not consistent with them,” the statement said. “Under these circumstances, we will not participate in the planned Sochi Summit. We will suspend our participation in the G-8 until Russia changes course.”

The step is a substantial one, although it's not exactly a surprise given how the West has reacted to Russia's decision to annex Crimea. Russia, meanwhile, reacted publicly to the news with something of a shrug. "The G8 is an informal club, with no formal membership, so no one can be expelled from it," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters. "Its raison d'etre was for deliberations between western industrialized countries and Russia, but there are other fora for that now … so if our western partners say there is no future for that format, then so be it. We are not clinging to that format."

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.