Canada says no to Russia rejoining G-8

OTTAWA, Canada – Canada is opposed to Russia rejoining the G-8 unless it leaves Ukraine, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said Thursday, August 22, rejecting an appeal from US President Donald Trump.

The G-7 is meeting this weekend in France.

"I think all of us would be delighted to welcome a Russia that sought again to be a member in good standing of our like-minded group of countries, a group of countries committed to the rule of law, a group of countries committed to democracy," Freeland said.

But first, she added, Russia must "show that they want to do that (by) leaving Crimea and ending the war in the Donbass" in Ukraine.

Russia had joined the group of wealthy democracies in 1997.

It was kicked out of the old G8 format after Russia's 2014 invasion and annexation of Crimea, in Ukraine. Putin has also been accused of orchestrating murders of opponents in Britain and elsewhere in Europe, as well as attempting to manipulate the 2016 US election that saw Trump win a surprise victory.

Freeland reminisced that it was "entirely appropriate" to welcome Russia into the group back in the day.

"The G7 community of nations was extending a hand to a democratizing, reforming Russia," she explained.

"But then Russia grossly violated international law by invading and annexing Crimea and added to that with the continuing war in the Donbass.

"That's why Russia was expelled."

The G7 leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States are meeting in Biarritz, France on August 24-26. –