Trump Still Wants To Invite Putin To G7 Summit Despite Evidence Russia Placed Bounties On U.S. Soldiers
On Monday, President Donald Trump said at a White House press conference that he would like to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to the next Group of Seven (G7) summit in the U.S. Trump’s efforts on Putin’s behalf come after intelligence reports that Russia placed bounties on U.S. soldiers’ lives. Trump never raised the issue with Putin despite the urgency of the reports.
“I certainly would invite him to the meeting,” Trump said. “I think he’s an important factor.”
The G7, which comprise Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S., is a group of seven advanced nations that used to include Russia, back when it was the G8. Russia was suspended from the group after the annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Despite Trump’s comments, several leaders of other G7 countries have opposed Russia’s re-entry into the group. Canada, France, Germany and the U.K. have all stated that they oppose the notion, with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemning Russia’s “flaunting of international rules.”
In July, Germany’s foreign secretary, Heiko Maas, pointed to the annexation of Crimea as the reason that Russia could not be readmitted to the G7. “As long as we do not have a solution there, I see no chance for this.”
Trump had also previously stated that he would like to invite leaders from Australia, South Korea and India.
Trump had initially wanted to hold the summit in June, but it had been postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Though a new date for the summit has not yet been announced, Trump said that he would like to host the event after the Nov. 3 election as it would provide a “better, calmer atmosphere.”
Trump’s comments follow reports from U.S. intelligence officials, who believe that Russian agents are trying to interfere with the upcoming presidential election in favor of Trump. William Evanina, the director of National Counterintelligence and Security Center, stated that the Kremlin is attempting to discredit and derail presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.