Putin remains diplomatically isolated, says Canadian PM Harper

Putin has three informal meetings with G7 leaders in France this weekend.
By Ed Adamczyk  |  June 5, 2014 at 12:25 PM
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BRUSSELS, June 5 (UPI) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin remains diplomatically isolated from the West despite having three appointments with G7 leaders this weekend, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Thursday. Harper, speaking at a G7 summit meeting in Brussels that was to include Putin until Western leaders cut Russia out of the group to protest its annexation of Crimea, has refused to meet with Putin while in Europe. However, leaders of the United Kingdom, France and Germany have agreed to one-on-one talks with him while the G7 and Putin commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion in France.

"I am not meeting with Putin and I know Mr. Obama is not meeting with Mr. Putin," Harper said.

He added the G7 remains united on the need for Russia to back down in its involvement in Crimea and Ukraine, and that any G7 leader meeting with Putin this weekend will reinforce demands to exit Crimea and end attempts to destabilize Ukraine.

Harper noted, though, there were no plans to exclude Putin from the World War II observance, saying, "There was an agreement that Russia should not be excluded from the Normandy celebrations because of the historic role of Russia, the then-Soviet Union, in the defeat of fascism in Europe. Obviously whatever contemporary difficulties we have with the current regime there, and they are obviously immense, I don't think we want to in any way diminish the Soviet and Russian contribution to the war effort which was obviously enormous at the time."

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