There’s “no chance” of Moscow returning to the elitist Group of Seven unless the Ukrainian conflict is solved, Berlin has said. But untying this and other knots is unimaginable without Russia’s helping hand, it admitted.
The alliance of the world’s top-tier powers made Moscow leave in the wake of the 2014 Ukrainian crisis. It unfolded shortly after Crimea chose to rejoin mainland Russia, followed by hostilities in eastern Ukraine between government forces and the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk.
On Monday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas reflected on the prospect of Russia being re-admitted to the G7 in a sit-down with Rheinische Post and General-Anzeiger newspapers.
“The reason for the exclusion of Russia was the annexation of Crimea and the intervention in eastern Ukraine,” Maas told the papers, invoking the casual Western rhetoric consistently rejected by Russia. “As long as we don’t have a solution there, I don’t see any chance,” the chief diplomat said.
Reiterating previous statements from Berlin, Maas said Russia’s contribution is still crucial in solving pressing international issues across the Middle East and in Ukraine itself.
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.
Last month, US President Donald Trump floated the prospect inviting Russian President Vladimir Putin to the forthcoming G7 summit, which Washington will host this year. He said that common sense dictates that the format of the “very outdated group of countries” should be expanded by inviting others, including Moscow.
Russian diplomats, however, dismissed reports that it was talking about participating in the enhanced G7 summit with Washington. Moscow also signaled that it is comfortable not being a member of G7 as long as there are other, more promising communications formats like the G20 or BRICS.
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