“I could certainly” support Russia’s return, Trump told reporters at the White House on Tuesday.
“It’s much more appropriate to have Russia in. It should be the G8, because a lot of the things we talk about have to do with Russia,” he added.
Back in 2014, the US, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan decided to suspend Moscow’s membership in the G8 over its alleged role in the Ukrainian conflict.
Some of the members later called for reinstating Russia’s membership but the US, the UK, and Canada had always conditioned it on resolving the situation in Ukraine.
Russia, which denied having a role in Ukraine, announced its permanent withdrawal from the G8 in 2017.
In June 2018, Trump suggested that Russia should participate in a forthcoming G7 summit in Canada. A Kremlin spokesman, however, appeared to snub the idea, saying Moscow was “focused on other formats.” In his comments at the White House on Tuesday, Trump also accused his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, of wanting Russia out of the G8, and said he would support a bid by another member to restore Moscow’s membership.
“I guess President Obama… because Putin outsmarted him… President Obama thought it wasn’t a good thing to have Russia in. So he wanted Russia out,” Trump said. Trump’s comments come ahead of the 45th annual summit of the G7, in Biarritz, France, which is scheduled to begin on August 24.
Trump is due to host the next G7 meeting in the United States next year.