President Barack Obama used the close of the G7 summit in Germany to deliver his strongest criticism yet of Vladimir Putin. Obama lambasted the Russian president’s isolationist approach as the seven leaders signaled their readiness to tighten sanctions against Russia if the conflict in Ukraine escalates. The president also warned that if Russia were to “double down” on what he called its “aggressive behavior” in Ukraine, “additional steps” could be taken. Meanwhile, German chancellor Angela Merkel stressed that while she hoped the situation in Ukraine would not worsen, the G7 leaders were prepared to implement tougher sanctions if it did. Russia was suspended from the G8 last year over its occupation and annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region and its backing of separatists in eastern Ukraine.
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