Russia has dismissed as "counterproductive" a move by world powers to cut Moscow out of the Group of Eight industrialized nations over its actions in Ukraine.
The spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin ((Dmitry Peskov)) made the comment one day after the seven other G8 nations agreed to hold their own Group of Seven summit in June instead of attending the previously-planned G8 meeting in Russia.
In a joint statement issued on the sidelines of a nuclear security summit in The Hague, Netherlands, the leaders of the U.S., Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan said they were suspending their participation with Russia in the G8, until Moscow "changes course." Western powers have been moving to isolate Russia over its annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine.
Russian news agencies quote the Kremlin spokesman as saying Russia is ready for and interested in continuing contacts with its fellow G8 countries. But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday it would be "no great tragedy" if Russia were dropped from the coalition.