MOSCOW >> President Donald Trump discussed his proposal to invite Russia to an expanded meeting of the Group of Seven advanced economies during a phone call with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, today, the Kremlin said.
The White House confirmed the call but did not give details.
Russia had been a member of the group, then the G-8, until it was indefinitely suspended as punishment for its annexation of neighboring Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014.
Trump, keen on improving the economy as he seeks reelection this year, has proposed inviting Russia, Australia, India and South Korea to participate in the format.
Russia has been coy in its response to the proposal.
The Kremlin’s statement did not say what Putin’s reaction was, offering only that there is a need for improving bilateral trust on security issues.
“The importance of enhancing Russian-U.S. dialogue on strategic stability and confidence-building measures in the military sphere was noted,” the Kremlin said.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came out against inviting Russia to the G-7, citing Crimea’s annexation and Moscow’s “continued disrespect and (flouting) of international rules and norms.”
However, he dodged a question on whether he would attend the summit if Putin were invited, adding that “there are still many discussions to be had on what, where, how this meeting is going to go on.”
During their phone call, Putin also congratulated Trump on the recent Crew Dragon launch, the first manned space flight from the U.S. to the International Space Station in almost a decade.
Both leaders confirmed intentions to continue bilateral collaboration in space, the Kremlin said. The United States had relied on Russia for manned space flights since ending its Space Shuttle program in 2011.
The ISS, tasked with conducting scientific research that would be impossible on Earth’s surface, has been a collaboration of mostly U.S. and Russian crews over its two decades of continuous operations.