Donald Trump offers to invite Vladimir Putin to expanded G7 summit

Julian Borger in Washington
Photograph: Susan Walsh/AP

Donald Trump has offered to invite Vladimir Putin to an expanded G7 meeting in September, but the invitation has already been adamantly opposed by the UK and Canada.

According to a Kremlin account on Monday, the US president initiated the call, in which the two leaders talked about the coronavirus pandemic, oil prices and cooperation in space, as well as Trump’s postponement of a planned G7 summit at Camp David this month and the inclusion of other countries.

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“Donald Trump informed about his idea of ​​holding a G7 summit with a possible invitation from the leaders of Russia, Australia, India and the Republic of Korea,” according to the Kremlin readout. There was no mention of the wave of unrest in US cities. Some hours later, the White House had not produced its own version of the conversation.

Trump raised the possibility of inviting Russia on Saturday, after the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, had made clear she would not attend the Camp David summit. 

“I don’t feel that as a G7 it properly represents what’s going on in the world. It’s a very outdated group of countries,” Trump told reporters.

He suggested the creation of an expanded grouping called the G10 or G11 and said the summit could be held in the weekend before or after the UN general assembly. The UN summit is currently due in the week beginning 20 September. The White House later said the proposal was aimed at bringing together “traditional allies” to talk about how to deal with China.

In 1997 Russia was admitted to the group of advanced democratic economies – the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan – but then evicted in 2014 after the annexation of Crimea. 

The UK and Canada quickly rejected any suggestion that Russia be readmitted as long as Russia behaved aggressively on the world stage.

A Downing Street spokesperson said Russia should not be a member “unless it ceases aggressive and destabilizing activity that threatens the safety of UK citizens and the collective security of our allies”. 

Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, said: “[Russia’s] continued disrespect and flaunting of international rules and norms is why it remains outside of the G7 and why it will continue to remain out.”

Trump has repeatedly pressed for Russia’s readmission at the G7, bringing it up at earlier summits, but each time it has been rejected by his fellow leaders.