World

At G-7, Putin is the man who isn't coming to dinner, but he'll dominate the agenda anyway

Two security guards pass the entrance of the European Council building in Brussels ahead of a two-day G7 meeting, Wednesday, June 4, 2014. The leaders of the G7 will deliberate their next steps in response to the enduring unrest in Ukraine, after sidelining Russia for its role in the crisis. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe)

Two security guards pass the entrance of the European Council building in Brussels ahead of a two-day G7 meeting, Wednesday, June 4, 2014. The leaders of the G7 will deliberate their next steps in response to the enduring unrest in Ukraine, after sidelining Russia for its role in the crisis. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe)  (The Associated Press)

He's been disinvited and the meeting location abruptly switched out of his country. But Russian President Vladimir Putin will be the topic of conversation anyway when President Obama and the rest of the G-7 leaders get together over dinner here Wednesday.

In March, the U.S. and its most important allies retaliated for Putin's military occupation and subsequent annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula by suspending Russia's membership in what had been the G-8 club of rich countries.

At the time, Obama promised to "impose a greater cost" on Putin and his country if the confrontation over Ukraine escalated. But beyond a statement of unity and a stiffly worded communique directed at Russia, little more is expected from the Brussels gathering.