President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are leading talks with the Group of Seven (G7). The G7 is a group of the leading industrial countries. Those countries include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Russia was previously a member of the group, then known as the G8, however they were disinvited following the events in Ukraine.
This year, the meeting is being held in a castle in the southern German Alps.
The G7 will be looking at imposing stronger sanctions on Russia.
“If anyone wants to start a debate about changing the sanctions regime, the discussion could only be about strengthening it.” said Donald Tusk. Tusk is the President of the Council of Ministers representing the European Union.
The issue stems from Russian aggression in Ukraine. Russia has been accused of supporting and arming rebel groups in the country. Ukraine is in the midst of a civil war that Ukraine prefers to call a war between it and Russia. Russia has claimed that they are not involved in the conflict.
“The duration of sanctions should be clearly linked to Russia’s full implementation of the Minsk agreements and respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty.” said a statement by the White House. The White House has admitted that imposing sanctions has yet to have a strong effect on Russia’s actions. The hope is with other support from the G7 change will occur. However, the economic sanctions, along with falling oil prices, have led to a decline of the Russian ruble.
“Russia has not changed its behavior, if anything, President Putin I think is doubling down on multiple fronts. And the cohesiveness feels like it’s not there.” said Heather Conley, who is director of the Europe program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The international community has had two main strategies to combat Russia’s Ukraine advancements. Numerous economic sanctions have been placed on Russia and individuals in an attempt to bring the country to the bargaining table or to get Russia to withdraw. Russia has since become party to the Minsk agreement, which is an attempt at a ceasefire. However, there have been violations since then and Ukraine is looking for a more permanent solution.
British Prime Minister David Cameron was hoping that the sanctions would continue. Cameron has also stated that “sanctions are having an impact on all of us”.
Other issues hoped to be discussed include violent extremism, Greece’s financial woes, climate change, and world disease issues.