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Talk is of absent friends at G7 as Russia comes under fire

Talk is of absent friends at G7 as Russia comes under fire
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Russia is at the heart of discussions at the latest G7 meeting, but is the absent member, sent to detention and barred from attending because of its treatment of Ukraine.

With the world’s wealthiest nations gathered for the D-day celebrations in Normandy avoiding war is uppermost in everyone’s minds, so President Putin will be meeting some of his G7 colleagues, but in separate, face-to-face meetings, starting with the French president on Thursday night, followed by David Cameron and Angela Merkel.

While Ukraine is the pressing issue, also under discussion will be the global economy. energy security – where the EU has expressed a desire to lessen its dependence on Russia – and climate change, where backing is being sought for a new global deal in 2015.

The work agenda is long and there is much around the world that needs the G7’s attention, but Ukraine is blowing pre-talk plans off course, with Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev accusing the G7 leaders of “cynicism without limit” for their backing of Ukraine’s military operation against pro-Russian gunmen in the east of the country.

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel countered by promising western powers would check “again and again” to make sure Russia was doing what it could to stabilise the situation, and warned further sanctions would be used if Moscow did not comply.