Western leaders at their weekend summit in Germany are expected to further condemn, but not more strictly punish Russia for its suspected role in the escalating violence in Ukraine.
Ukraine is pleading for a response from the Group of 7 leaders meeting Sunday and Monday in the Bavarian Alps, a year after the world’s largest industrialized democracies booted Russian President Vladimir Putin from their ranks in protest over the crisis that has killed more than 6,400 people.
Even now, Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists are engaging in their most violent battle in months, despite economic penalties against Moscow and a 4-month-old cease-fire agreement.
“I don’t think we can kid ourselves that the policy and right now the actions on the ground are producing the results we want,” said Heather Conley, director of the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
She said European leaders will assess President Barack Obama’s next steps as they face a decision this summer about prolonging their sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s government.
“Russia has not changed its behavior,” she said. “If anything, President Putin, I think, is doubling down on multiple fronts, and the cohesiveness feels like it’s not there. People don’t know what’s next, how are we going to continue on.”