G8 summit 'won't be held in Russia'

David Cameron: "There's not going to be a G8 summit this year in Russia"

The G8 summit will not take place in Russia this year, UK Prime Minister David Cameron has said.

Speaking in the Netherlands, Mr Cameron said it was "absolutely clear" the planned June meeting of world leaders in the Russian resort of Sochi would not happen owing to events in Ukraine.

The EU and US have imposed sanctions on Russian officials after Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

Moscow has also been warned of further action if it does not change course.

The announcement that the Sochi meeting had been effectively cancelled came after Russian troops seized control of the last major military base in Crimea.

Mr Cameron, US President Barack Obama and other G8 leaders are attending a nuclear co-operation summit in The Hague, to which Russian President Vladimir Putin was not invited.

'Illegal annexation'

"We should be clear there's not going to be a G8 summit in Russia," Mr Cameron said, urging Russia to "change course".

The G7 leaders plus EU representatives issued a declaration after their meeting in The Hague noting that "international law prohibits the acquisition of part or all of another state's territory through coercion or force".

(Clockwise L-R) European Council president Herman Van Rompuy, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, French President Francois Hollande, British Prime Minister David Cameron, US President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso

"To do so violates the principles upon which the international system is built," they said.

"We condemn the illegal referendum held in Crimea in violation of Ukraine's constitution. We also strongly condemn Russia's illegal attempt to annex Crimea in contravention of international law and specific international obligations. We do not recognise either."

Russia's actions would have "significant consequences", they continued.

"We remain ready to intensify actions including coordinated sectoral sanctions that will have an increasingly significant impact on the Russian economy, if Russia continues to escalate this situation.

"Russia has a clear choice to make. Diplomatic avenues to de-escalate the situation remain open, and we encourage the Russian government to take them."

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said there was an increasing recognition that European leaders wanted to stop relying so heavily on Russian oil and gas.

The G7 had to be prepared to take more far-reaching measures in response to the developments, he said.

The UK and other G8 nations suspended their preparations for the Sochi summit last month as the crisis in Ukraine intensified and hinted that they could meet without Russia.

Several G8 members have also called for Russia's membership of the powerful body to be suspended.

The BBC's Europe correspondent Matthew Price said the end of the Sochi summit was a recognition of Russia's isolation on the global stage as a result of what it had done in Ukraine.

The US, UK and other countries, he added, were making clear they did not want Russia "in their club" unless it reconsidered its actions in Crimea.

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