US President Donald Trump on Friday, June 8, said he wanted Russia to join the Group of Seven (G7) platform, adding one more episode to his saga of controversies.
Trump made the remark before leaving for Quebec, Canada, where the 44th summit of the G7 was set to be held on Friday and Saturday, June 9. The rich men's club could see a heated up summit because of Trump's aggressive sanctions on imports from the US's old allies, including Canada.
Before leaving for Canada from where he will head to Singapore to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on June 12, Trump said Russia deserved to be at the negotiating table of G7. He also said that such a turnout might not be politically correct but the world needed to be run.
Russia was snubbed after it 2014 after it annexed Crimea in Ukraine and the G8 since then has been reduced to G7. Besides the US, the other six countries in the group include Canada, the UK, Italy, Japan, France and Germany. Russia joined the G7 in 1998 to make it into G8.
According to a piece in US-based Vox, Trump's statement before the G7 summit which is already seeing a lot of trouble is important for two reasons.
First, Trump's statement will encourage Russia on which the international community is trying to put up a lot of pressure and worsen Washington' relations with its allies more.
Secondly, Trump and his associated are being probed over their possible link with Moscow in the run-up to the 2016 presidential elections. Trump has blasted the investigation as "witch hunt" and his backing Moscow to be part of G7 will strengthen his critics' allegations that he has some interest in having a good relation with Russia.