It would be “appropriate” for Russia to rejoin the G7 and make it G8 again, US President Donald Trump told reporters ahead of the group’s summit in France.
“I think it’s much more appropriate to have Russia in” the group of the world's most advanced economies, Trump told reporters on Tuesday, during a photo-op with President Klaus Iohannis of Romania.
Trump said he would support if another group member would propose to restore Russia’s membership, suspended in 2014 after his predecessor Barack Obama blamed Moscow for the crisis in Ukraine.
Since 2014, multiple G7 members have called for reinstating Russia’s membership, but the US, UK and Canada have always conditioned it on resolving the situation in Ukraine.
Trump’s comments come ahead of the 45th annual summit of the G7 in Biarritz, France, starting August 24. Though Putin was not invited to the summit, he did pay a visit to French President Emmanuel Macron at his summer residence in Bregancon on Monday.
Trump himself took a hard line on Russia for the first two years of his presidency, cornered by the narrative pushed by Democrats that he “colluded” with the Kremlin during the 2016 election. After the special counsel investigation failed to find any evidence of that, however, the ‘Russian collusion’ narrative abruptly disappeared from the US media.