Trudeau: Russia's return to the G-7 not acceptable

OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau says inviting Russia back to the G-7 table would be unacceptable, even as Donald Trump plans to open the 2020 summit's doors to Vladimir Putin.

The U.S. president proposed Saturday to expand the group by adding four non-member nations, including Russia. The other countries on Trump's longer invitee list were India, Australia and South Korea.

The group suspended Russia's membership in 2014 over its annexation of Crimea in Ukraine.

Asked about Trump's proposal, the Canadian prime minister told reporters Monday that Russia should not be welcomed back. The U.K. also said Monday that it would veto any such plan.

"Its continued disrespect and flaunting of international rules and norms is why it remains outside of the G-7 and it will continue to remain out," said Trudeau, who later added in French: "It will not be acceptable to accept it within the G-7."

Trudeau has urged Putin, Russia's president, in the past to play a more positive role in the world.

Trump was set to host the summit of advanced economies later this month in the U.S., but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, he's postponed the meeting until September. His announcement came after German Chancellor Angela Merkel declined his invitation to attend a June G-7 summit in Washington because of the pandemic.

Trudeau also took a question Monday on whether he would attend the G-7 summit if Putin were on the guest list. He didn't directly answer the query, instead stressing that many discussions were still to be had on the details and timing of the U.S. meeting. The U.K.'s position does not rule out Putin being invited as a guest.

"The G-20 is a forum in which we regularly have exchanges across various countries that we don't necessarily have great relations with," Trudeau said.

"But the G-7 has always been a place for frank conversations among allies and friends who share much and that's certainly what I'm hoping to continue to see."

Trump made a splash ahead of the 2018 G-7 summit, hosted in Canada by Trudeau, when he called for Russia’s reinstatement into the group.

Decisions on membership must be backed unanimously by the G-7 members.