Politics, World, Europe

Ukraine against Russia's return to G8

President Volodymyr Zelensky says nothing has changed since Russia’s 2014 suspension, Crimea is still under its occupation

Diyar Guldogan   | 22.08.2019
Ukraine against Russia's return to G8 Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

ANKARA

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has opposed the idea of Russia's return to the G8.

"Since March 2014, when Russia was suspended from the G8, nothing has changed. The Ukrainian Crimea is still occupied, the Ukrainian Donbas is still suffering from the war," Zelensky tweeted early Thursday.

His remarks came after U.S. President Donald Trump gave a green light to Moscow's return to the group of the world's top eight economies -- consisting of the U.S., the U.K., Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. 

Russia was suspended from the G8 in 2014 due to its annexation of Crimea as well as its political and military support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.

"Returning Ukraine’s occupied Crimea, cessation of hostilities in Donbas & releasing over 100 political prisoners & Ukrainian sailors that Kremlin currently holds would signal the world that Russia can be allowed back to its place at the top table of the global diplomacy," Zelensky said. 

He also thanked countries that have supported Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Responding to Zelensky's message, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that it is not an ultimate goal for Russia to rejoin the group, as Moscow considers other formats, such as the Group of 20 or the G20, more effective.

"For Russia, the return to G7, former G8, is not a goal in itself. In any case, Russia believes that at present to discuss global problems in geopolitics, security or the economy without the participation of, for example, China and India and a whole group of other countries is not quite effective. In this regard, of course, other formats look more advantageous, for example G20," Peskov said. 

Relations between Kiev and Moscow broke down after Russia annexed Crimea following an illegal independence vote in 2014.

The UN, the EU, the U.S., and Turkey do not recognize Crimea as Russian territory.

*Elena Telova contributed this story from Moscow

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