Russia's readmission to the Group of Seven nations depends on progress in Ukraine peace talks, a French diplomatic source said, responding to comments by U.S. President Donald Trump that Moscow should be allowed to rejoin the group.
"We have taken note that the Americans want to reintegrate them next year. Ukraine is vital. There is a context that could be favorable to some progress," the diplomatic source said on Wednesday, referring to comments by the new Ukrainian president, Reuters reports.
Russia was thrown out of the G8 in 2014 over its illegal annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. The European Union subsequently slapped sanctions on Moscow over its fomenting of the war in eastern Ukraine.
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he would support Russia's return to the G7, which is not the first time Trump has floated the idea.
France holds the group's rotating chair this year and will hand over to the United States in 2020.
CNN reported that in a call with Trump on Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron had suggested Russia return to the fold next year, which was neither confirmed nor denied by the French source.
Until now, Macron has repeatedly said there had to be progress on the crisis in Ukraine before Russia could return to the G7.
Speaking alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, Macron repeated that position, but insisted that there was a window of opportunity to make progress on the crisis after new President Volodymyr Zelensky on Aug 6 pressed Putin for a resumption of peace talks.
French officials hope a leaders’ summit in the Normandy format (Ukraine, Russia, Germany, and France) could be held before the end of the year. Last time the leaders met was in October 2016.