G7 leaders back strengthening cooperation with Russia after its expulsion from the group in 2014 but believe it is too early to reintegrate Moscow and return to a G8, diplomatic sources said yesterday.
“The leaders of the G7 are in favour of reinforcing coordination with Russia on current crises (but)... it is too early for reintegration,” said a diplomatic source, who asked not to be named.
Russia was thrown out of what was the G8 in 2014 after it seized Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, an annexation never recognised by the international community.
The G7 now brings together Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States. The source added the seven leaders agreed the position on Russia during the summit’s opening dinner late Saturday.
US President Donald Trump, who will host next year’s 2020 summit, has floated the possibility of Russia being allowed back in.
Asked yesterday about inviting Russia to next year’s G7, Trump responded: “That I don’t know. It’s certainly possible.”
French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday backed Russia rejoining the elite club of the world’s top powers to recreate the G8, so long as the conflict in Ukraine is resolved.
Canada also opposed to the move unless it leaves Ukraine, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said Thursday.
Russia said that it would “examine” a possible return to the G8. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump expressed support for Moscow’s return to the group, marking a new break with its G7 allies that are due to meet this weekend in France’s southern city Biarritz.
“If a decision there is taken on Russia then we will examine it and respond,” Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said at a press conference.