President Trump on Tuesday said that he thinks it would be “much more appropriate” to allow Russia to reenter the G-7 group of major economic powers after it was suspended from the group in 2014 following its annexation of Crimea.
“We talk about Russia because I’ve been to numerous G-7 meetings,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office during a meeting with Romanian president Klaus Iohannis. “I think it’s much more appropriate to have Russia in. I guess President Obama — because Putin outsmarted him, President Obama thought it was not a good idea to have Russia in. That’s not the way it should work.”
Russia was suspended from the group, then the G-8, in 2014 for annexing Crimea from Ukraine. In January 2017, it decided to permanently leave the conference.
“International law prohibits the acquisition of part or all of another state’s territory through coercion or force,” a statement from G-7 leaders said at the time. “We condemn the illegal referendum held in Crimea in violation of Ukraine’s constitution.
Trump is set to attend the annual G-7 meeting in the coming days and confer with the leaders of the other member countries — France, Italy, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Germany — which, along with the U.S., represent 58 percent of the world’s wealth. Before the last G-7 meeting, Trump said his view may not be “politically correct,” but it is practical.
“Whether you like it or not, and it may not be politically correct, but we have a world to run,” Trump said. “They should let Russia come back in because we should have Russia at the negotiating table.”