Kremlin calls G8 summit snub 'counterproductive'

Russia's President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov walks before a wreath laying ceremony to mark the Defender of the Fatherland Day at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by the Kremlin walls in central Moscow February 23, 2014. Russia on Tuesda
Russia's President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov walks before a wreath laying ceremony to mark the Defender of the Fatherland Day at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by the Kremlin walls in central Moscow February 23, 2014. Russia on Tuesday, March 25, 2014 dismissed as counterproductive the decision of G8 member countries to snub a June summit in the Russian resort of Sochi following Moscow's annexation of Crimea. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia on Tuesday dismissed as counterproductive the decision of G8 member countries to snub a June summit in the Russian resort of Sochi following Moscow's annexation of Crimea.

A summit of the smaller Group of Seven agreed in The Hague on Monday to deepen Moscow's isolation over the crisis in Ukraine and meet without Russia in Brussels instead of gathering in Sochi.

"When it comes to contacts with the G8 countries, we are ready for them, we have an interest in them," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the ITAR-TASS news agency.

"But the unwillingness of other countries to continue dialogue - we consider it counterproductive, both for us and for our partners themselves," President Vladimir Putin's spokesman said.

At the G7 summit in the Netherlands, US President Barack Obama and the leaders of Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada agreed that Russia's actions were "not consistent" with the group's shared beliefs and scrapped plans to attend Sochi.

Shortly before their decision, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday said it would be "no great tragedy" if Russia were dropped from the G8.

"If our Western partners think that this format (the G8) has outlived itself, then so be it," Mr Lavrov told reporters.

Mr Peskov said that Russia's role within the G8 had involved work on hundreds of projects and "judging by everything, some of them will be wound down." "But that does not affect contacts with those countries that choose not to walk away from dialogue. We will definitely continue cooperation with them," he said.

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