France wants Sochi G8 summit preparations suspended over Ukraine

PARIS - France's foreign minister called Sunday for preparations to be suspended for the upcoming G8 summit in Sochi over Russia's "military escalation" in Ukraine's Crimea peninsula.

"France wants preparations for the Sochi G8 summit to be suspended," Laurent Fabius told French radio, "until our Russian partners have returned to principles compatible with those of the G7 and G8.

"We condemn the Russian military escalation and call for negotiations to be organised with the least possible delay, either directly between Russians and Ukrainians or through a UN or OSCE intermediary," he said.

"Russia is traditionally our friend. We want a traditional friend far more than sabre-rattling."

His comments came after President Vladimir Putin obtained the green light from parliament on Saturday to use military force in its neighbour Ukraine.

A G8 summit is currently due to be held in Sochi in June. The United States and Canada have already stated they may not take part in response to the Russian military intervention.