WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump renewed calls Tuesday to readmit Russia to the G-7 ahead of the global group of industrialized nations' summit in Biarritz, France, this weekend.
The group once known as the G-8 included the U.S., Canada, the U.K., France, Italy, Germany, Japan and Russia — but was cut down to the G-7 in 2014 following Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea.
"I've gone to numerous G-7 meetings, and I guess President Obama, because Putin outsmarted him, President Obama thought it wasn't a good thing to have Russia in so he wanted Russia out. I think it's much more appropriate to have Russia in and it should be the G-8," Trump said, referencing the U.S.-led role in suspending Russia's involvement with the group.
"So I could certainly see it being the G-8 again," Trump added, noting that the group frequently discusses issues concerning Russia.
Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine sparked international uproar and triggered a series of sanctions to be placed on Moscow. Shortly after the annexation, a war broke out in eastern Ukraine between government forces and Russian-backed separatists.
The G-7 will be hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron in Biarritz, France, Aug. 24-26. The group meets annually to discuss issues from world energy policy to international security.
Trump previously said Russia should be reinstated to the group as he departed for last year's summit, held in Canada.
"Russia should be in this meeting," Trump told reporters before boarding Marine One for the summit. "They should let Russia come back in, because we should have Russia at the negotiating table."