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Harper ready to urge G7 colleagues to go tougher on Vladimir Putin

Prime Minister Stephen Harper takes part in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte as he arrives at Catshuis in the Hague, Netherlands, on Sunday, March 23, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Stephen Harper is expected to urge Russia’s expulsion from the G8 for its aggression in the Crimean Peninsula during an emergency G7 summit on Monday.

The prime minister is the only G7 leader who’s personally witnessed the devastation in Kyiv and spoken face-to-face with Ukraine’s new leadership.

He’ll give a first-hand account of what he saw and heard in Ukraine over the weekend when he sits down with his G7 colleagues at the Dutch prime minister’s official residence in this pristine European capital.

Harper has called for a “complete reversal” of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and has also warned long and loudly that Russian President Vladimir Putin cannot be trusted.

The G7 meeting is being held on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit, now woefully overshadowed by the ominous events playing out in eastern Europe amid the worst crisis for the region since the Cold War.

Harper is also expected to warn his colleagues that Putin’s actions will spur similar brazen territory grabs if they go unpunished.

The prime minister will sound those alarm bells as Russian troops amass on the southeastern border of Ukraine. There are concerns that Russia could use the unrest in the eastern reaches of the country, where there’s a large Russian minority, as a pretext for crossing the border.