March 24 - German Chancellor Merkel says G7 leaders will discuss Russia's participation in the G8. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
As leaders from the Group of Seven gather in the Netherlands, talks are expected to turn to Russia and the future of the G8. German Chancellor Angela Merkel says there really is no G8 at the moment. (SOUNDBITE)(German) GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL SAYING: "As long as the political climate for G8 isn't available, as is the case at the moment, there is no G8 -- either as summit, a tangible summit, or as a format, and that will surely be part of our discussions at the G7 meeting today because we have to understand that the political climate is not there at the moment." British Prime Minister David Cameron also weighed in. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, DAVID CAMERON, SAYING: "We should be clear, there's not going to be a G8 summit this year in Russia. That's absolutely clear. We will be meeting tonight - the seven other countries of the G8 to determine the way forward. But frankly, it is Russia that needs to change course." Russian President Vladimir Putin is sending no such signals as he attends a an awards ceremony in Moscow. After Russia claimed Crimea, the U.S. and the EU have imposed visa bans and asset freezes on some of Putin's closest political and business allies. But so far they have held back from measures designed to hit Russia's wider economy.