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article imageG20 Summit turning into war of words as leaders attack Putin

By Marcus Hondro     Nov 15, 2014 in World
The G20 Summit is underway in Australia and a meeting intended to focus on the economy is turning into a battleground as nations line up to take a shot at Russian President Vladimir Putin. The subject of the Ukraine is threatening to derail the meeting.
Late Saturday the Russian delegation said Mr. Putin will leave the summit earlier Sunday than planned but they did not attribute it to what has transpired. The criticism began early as just as leaders began to arrive in Brisbane, a report from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) accused Russia of breaking the ceasefire they agreed to in September.
“We observed in the past days Russia has again brought arms, equipment, artillery, tanks and rockets over the border into Ukraine,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told Germany’s Bild newspaper. “President Putin has clearly broken the truce agreement and has violated Ukraine’s integrity.”
Canada, Germany and U.K. parry with Russia
Early on in this the ninth G20 summit Canada, Germany and the U.K. have let Putin know where they stand. At a meeting of leaders Saturday morning, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was approached by Putin, who stuck out his hand. Mr. Harper is reported to have taken it and said "I guess I'll shake your hand, but I have only one thing to say to you: you need to get out of Ukraine."‎
Germany's Prime Minister Angela Merkel got into the act, taking her cue to speak of the Ukraine when asked about the four warships Russia sent into international waters off the coast of Australia. “What is concerning me quite more is that the territorial integrity of Ukraine is being violated and the agreement of Minsk is not followed,” she said.
U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron also wasted no time getting in on the action, telling media that if Russia continues down the same path there could be even more sanctions imposed upon the country. “If Russia takes a positive approach toward Ukraine’s freedom and responsibility, we could see those sanctions removed; if Russia continues to make matters worse, then we could see those sanctions increased. It’s as simple as that,"
Putin: sanctions are not legal
For his part, the ever-feisty Mr. Putin complained of the sanctions (which include asset freezes, visa bans and banning Russian companies from access to Western markets and technology) and said they are not legal. He said only the United Nations has a right to impose such sanctions and called for them to the lifted.
Before this summit even began there were words fired across the bow at Putin. Tuesday at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit (APEC) in Beijing, Aussie Prime Minister Tony Abbott told Putin he had proof that a rocket launcher was taken from Russia to the Ukraine and fired at Malaysia Flight MH17. Everyone on board died, including 38 Australians, and at APEC, Abbot told Putin to apologize for the downing of the plane and pay compensation to relatives of the victims.
And at the G20, Mr. Abbott, who said earlier in the week he does not want the summit to be derailed from its purpose of dealing with the world's economy, again got into the fray with choice words directed at the Russians. “Russia would be so much more attractive if it was aspiring to be a superpower for peace and freedom and prosperity," he said. "Instead of trying to recreate the lost glories of tsarism or the old Soviet Union.”
It remains to be seen if substantive work will be done on the subject of the world economy amidst the war of words over Russia and the Ukraine.
More about G20 summit, Putin, russia in ukraine, stephen harper and putin, Angela merkel
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