US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday it would be appropriate to let Russia join the G7 group of advanced industrialised countries.
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and G7 leaders, then-Britain Prime Minister Theresa May, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and US President Donald Trump discuss the joint communique following a breakfast meeting on the second day of the G7 meeting in Charlevoix city of La Malbaie, Quebec File: Handout/Prime Minister’s Office/Adam Scotti/Reuters
Speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump falsely said his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, had wanted Russia out of what used to be the G8.
“But I think it’s much more appropriate to have Russia in. It should be the G8 because a lot of the things we talk about have to do with Russia,” Trump said.
Russia was pushed out of the G8 in 2014 because of its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
It was not the first time Trump has floated the idea of Russia getting back together with the G7, which includes the United States, Germany, Japan, France, the UK, Italy and Canada.
In June 2018, Trump suggested Russia should attend a forthcoming G7 summit in Canada. A Kremlin spokesman seemed to reject the idea, saying Russia was focused on other formats.
Two days later, President Vladimir Putin said Russia did not choose to leave the G7 and would be happy to host its members in Moscow.
Trump has periodically called for closer ties with Russia, although his administration’s policy has included strong sanctions against Moscow.
His comments on Tuesday come just days before this year’s G7 summit kicks off in France.
Annual G7 summits had typically been non-confrontational affairs, until Trump.
At the G7 in Quebec last year, he exploded proceedings and left in a fury, engaging in personal insults over trade with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and refusing to sign the collective final statement.