16:19 GMT26 November 2020
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    St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2015 (42)

    Should the United States decide to invite Russia back to the Group of Seven and revive the G8 format, Canada will have to accept this development, the Russian president said.

    "I don't want to offend anyone, but if the United States says Russia should be returned to the G8, [Canada's] prime minister will change his opinion," Putin told journalists during a meeting with the heads of world news agencies at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

    Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been a vocal advocate of keeping Russia out of the G7 and the pressure of sanctions on the country.

    During the latest G7 summit in Germany, Harper lashed out at the Russian president, saying he did not want Vladimir Putin to attend the G7 meetings even before the civil war in Ukraine broke out.

    The dominant Western narrative has it that Russia was the one to upset regional balance in Europe by meddling in the internal affairs of its neighbor and reuniting with Crimea.

    Under this pretext Western countries, including Canada, introduced several rounds of sanctions against Moscow and suspended Russia's G8 membership.

    The Kremlin has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in Ukraine or Europe, saying Russian threat is a myth cultivated in the West.

    Moscow has been pushing hard for the Minsk process, also endorsed by Germany and France, to bring lasting peace to Ukraine following the 2014 coup and the government crackdown on the independence supporters in Donbass.

    Canada and the United States are not taking part in the so-called Normandy format aimed at resolving the Ukrainian crisis.

    However, not every G7 member opposes Russia's return to the format. Earlier in June, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed hope that Russia would return to the group, saying that it "it’s not in our interests to retain the G7 format over a long period of time."

    St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2015 (42)


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    international relations, politics, SPIEF-2015, G8, G7, Stephen Harper, Vladimir Putin, Russia, US, Canada
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