This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
U.S. President Donald Trump on August 26 reiterated that he would invite Russian President Vladimir Putin when the United States hosts the Group of Seven (G7) summit of the world’s largest economies next year, despite Moscow’s exclusion from the club over its 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
“I’d certainly invite him,” Trump told a news conference at the end of the summit in the southwestern French coastal resort of Biarritz.
“Whether he could come or not, psychologically, I think that’s a tough thing to do,” Trump added. “He’s a proud person.”
Trump’s statement in Biarritz was the second time in a week that he has spoken in favor of letting Russia back into the G7.
“I could certainly support that,” he told reporters at the White House on August 21. “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 “if somebody would make that motion, I would certainly be disposed to think about it very favorably,” regarding the inclusion of Russia in the group.
Russia was expelled from the old G8 format in 2014 after invading and then annexing Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. U.S. intelligence agencies also say Moscow interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Putin has also been accused of ordering the murders of opponents at home and abroad, including in Britain and elsewhere in Europe, allegations that he denies.