US President Donald Trump said on Monday that he would invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to the summit of the Group of Seven in 2020.
During a press briefing of the G7 summit at the French seaside resort Biarritz, Trump said, “I would certainly invite him”.
Trump also said that he is not sure whether Russian President Putin, “a proud man” in his term, would accept the invitation.
Donald Trump has demanded that Russia be readmitted to the group despite the disagreement of other leaders.
The G8 format (the US, Canada, Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Japan and Russia) had been in place from 1998-2014. It was then reduced to G7 due to disagreements with Russia regarding the events in Crimea and Ukraine.
Russia had been a member of the G8 until 2014 when the country was excluded over its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
The G7 summit in France “became a bit tense, to say the least,” after Trump’s proposal to invite Putin, an unnamed European diplomat told The Guardian newspaper on Sunday.
French, British, German and Canadian leaders, as well as the head of the European Union, reportedly pushed back against Trump’s suggestion, insisting that the G7 remain “a family, a club, a community of liberal democracies.”