The other seven members of the group had already suspended preparations for a G8 summit that Russia is scheduled to host in June in Sochi.

France's Laurent Fabius went further today, saying on Europe-1 radio that "concerning the G8 ... we decided to suspend Russia's participation, and it is envisaged that all the other countries, the seven leading countries, will unite without Russia."
    
Fabius did not give further details. The US and European Union today announced new sanctions against Russia over its actions in the Crimean Peninsula.

Putin signs treaty, adds Crimea to map of Russia
    
With a sweep of his pen, President Vladimir Putin added Crimea to the map of Russia, describing the move as correcting past injustice and responding to what he called Western encroachment upon Russia's vital interests.
    
In an emotional 40-minute speech televised live from the Kremlin, Putin said "in people's hearts and minds, Crimea has always been an integral part of Russia."
    
He dismissed Western criticism of Sunday's Crimean referendum in which residents of the strategic Black Sea peninsula overwhelmingly backed breaking off from Ukraine and joining Russia as a manifestation of the West's double standards.
    
But the Russian leader insisted his nation has no intention to invade other regions of Ukraine, saying "we don't want a division of Ukraine, we don't need that."
    
Putin referred to Ukraine as a state born out of an illegal secession from the Soviet Union. He also argued that Ukraine includes "regions of Russia's historic south" and was created on a whim by the Bolsheviks.
    
The statement sounded as a clear warning to both the new Ukrainian government in Kiev and to the West to respect Russia's interests.
    
In response, Ukraine's new government called Putin a threat to the whole world and US Vice President Joe Biden warned that the US and Europe will impose further sanctions against Moscow.
    
"The world has seen through Russia's actions and has rejected the flawed logic," Biden said, meeting with anxious European leaders in Poland.
    
"Today's statement by Putin showed in high relief what a real threat Russia is for the civilized world and international security," Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Evhen Perebinis said on Twitter. "(The annexation) has nothing to do with law or with democracy or sensible thinking."
    
Thousands of Russian troops have been massed along Ukraine's eastern border for the last few weeks Russia says that was for military training while the US and Europe view the troops as an intimidation tactic.
    
Putin argued that the months of protests in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev which prompted President Viktor Yanukovych to flee to Russia had been instigated by the West in order to weaken Russia.
    
He cast the new Ukrainian government as illegitimate, driven by radical "nationalists, neo-Nazis, Russophobes and anti-Semites."
    
With strong emotion, Putin accused the West of cheating Russia and ignoring its interests in the years that followed the 1991 Soviet collapse.

(Agencies)

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