The White House said Friday that there are no plans to invite Russia to rejoin the G-7 group of nations, a call that was frequently made by former President Donald Trump.
Any invitation for Russia to join the G-7 would be made in partnership with all of the group’s members, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Friday.
The group is currently meeting virtually, with President Joe Biden making the first international appearance of his presidency.
The group once known as the G-8 included the U.S., Canada, the U.K., France, Italy, Germany, Japan and Russia — but it was cut down to the G-7 in 2014 following Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea.
The annexation of Crimea from Ukraine sparked international uproar and triggered a series of sanctions on Moscow. Shortly after the annexation, a war broke out in eastern Ukraine between government forces and Russian-backed separatists.
Throughout his presidency, Trump called on G-7 members to reinstate Russia to the group and blamed his predecessor, in part, for Russian President Vladamir Putin’s aggression in Crimea and Ukraine.
“I’ve gone to numerous G-7 meetings, and I guess President Obama, because Putin outsmarted him, President Obama thought it wasn’t a good thing to have Russia in so he wanted Russia out. I think it’s much more appropriate to have Russia in and it should be the G-8,” Trump said ahead of the G-7 meeting in 2019.
“So I could certainly see it being the G-8 again,” Trump added, noting that the group frequently discusses issues concerning Russia.
During the 2019 meeting, held in the French seaside town of Biarritz, Trump said that other members of the group want to see Russia’s return to the G-7 as well.
“I think it’s a work in progress. We have a number of people that would like to see Russia back,” Trump said when asked if there was an update about adding the former member to the group. “I don’t know if we will make a decision one way or the other but we did have a discussion about Russia last night as to whether or not we want to invite them back,” he added.
“Maybe we will just leave it the way it is,” Trump said, explaining that there was no formal decision or plan to readmit Russia.
Before leaving for the 2018 summit in Canada, Trump told reporters that leaders “should let Russia come back in, because we should have Russia at the negotiating table,” he added.
“Russia should be in this meeting,” Trump said.