MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The number of formats for cooperation between Western nations and Moscow is shrinking, Alexei Pushkov, head of the foreign affairs committee of the lower house of Russia's parliament, said Thursday, commenting on Russia's absence at the recent G7 summit in Germany.
The G7 format was previously known as G8, when it included Moscow. However, Russia was expelled from the group in 2014, as the West accused the country of involvement in Ukraine's internal affairs, a claim Moscow has repeatedly denied.
"The West is isolating itself… The G7 is yet another Western alliance… a club of friends of the United States," Pushkov told reporters in Moscow, echoing Wednesday's words of President Vladimir Putin, who referred to the group as a "hobby club."
The United States used the G8 as an instrument of pressure on Russia, and without Moscow's participation this ability no longer exists, Pushkov added.
Pushkov noted that the Russian delegation would continue refraining from participation in the Assembly, if it was stripped of its voting powers once again next January.
The Russian lawmaker underscored that the decline in the number of formats for Russia-West cooperation makes alternatives like BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) increasingly important, adding that the center of the global economy is shifting to the East along with Russian interests.
Worsening relations with the West over the last year have pushed Russia to increase its cooperation with BRICS members and with countries in Latin America and Asia.
Russia will host the upcoming BRICS and SCO summits in the city of Ufa, where issues of partnership will top the agenda.