- Russia was expelled from the G7 summit on March 24, 2014, following the annexation of Crimea.
- President Trump has lobbied repeatedly for Russia's readmission.
- Maas said in the interview with a local daily that he saw no possibility of allowing Moscow to re-enter the G7, citing the conflict in Ukraine.
Germany has rejected a proposal by the US President, Donald Trump, to re-admit Russia to the G7. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas blatantly rejected the idea, in an interview in a local newspaper, which was quoted by the Reuters news agency. Russia was suspended from the group in 2014.
The G7 constitutes a group of the world’s most economically advanced countries, which are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Russia was initially a member of the G7, then the G8, and had acquired full G8 member status in 2002.
Since 2006, Russia had been included in the rotation of rotating presidencies of the group. The nation was however suspended from the G7 summit on March 24, 2014, following the annexation of Crimea.
In June this year, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in reaction to the very issue, dismissed the possibility of the re-inclusion of Russia into the G7 alliance.
“Russia was excluded from the G7 after it invaded Crimea a number of years ago, and its continued disrespect and flaunting of international rules and norms is why it remains outside of the G7, and it will continue to remain out,” said Trudeau.
On 8 June, 2018, the President of the United States, Donald Trump, had declared that he wanted to reintegrate Moscow into the G7. The intention had been backed only by Italy, in the face of the opposition from the other member states.
On June 1, President Trump shared the idea with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, during a phone call. Trump proposed to expand the G7 to include Russia again, as well as other countries, namely Australia, India and South Korea.
However, Maas said in the interview with a local daily that he saw no possibility of allowing Moscow to re-enter the G7 until there was significant progress in resolving the conflict in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. Russia is still part of the G20, a larger grouping that includes other emerging market economies.
“G7 and G20 are two sensibly coordinated formats. We don’t need G11 or G12 anymore,” Maas said in reference to Trump’s proposal to invite not only Russia, but other countries to G7 meetings.
In this context, the Germany Minister described relations with Moscow as “currently difficult” in many areas. “But we also know that we need Russia to solve conflicts such as those in Syria, Libya and Ukraine. That will not work against Russia, but only with Russia.” Maas acknowledged.
Germany, which took over the six-monthly presidency of the European Council on 1 July, is playing a mediating role in the conflict in Ukraine. “But Russia also has to make its contribution, which is very slow in Ukraine,” stressed the Foreign Minister.
The situation in eastern Ukraine is one of the key issues for relations between Russia and NATO countries, and one of the main causes of the sanctions imposed on Moscow. Since the annexation of Crimea, NATO countries have been committed to defending the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
On the one hand, they have not recognized the annexation itself. On the other, these countries are trying to counter the separatist forces of the Russian-speaking regions of Donbass, whose troops seem to be supported by the Kremlin.