08/23/2019 11:05 EDT | Updated 08/23/2019 11:18 EDT

Canada Refuses To Side With U.S. On Allowing Russia Back In G8

Moscow must meet conditions on Ukraine to be welcomed again, Chrystia Freeland says.

OTTAWA⁠ — The Canadian government remains opposed to Russia rejoining the group of leading industrialized nations formerly known as the Group of Eight, a move U.S President Donald Trump has said should be considered, Canada’s foreign minister said on Thursday.

G7 leaders are set to meet this weekend in France. On Tuesday, Trump said it would be “appropriate” to have Russia rejoin what used to be the G8.

Russia was dropped from the G8 in 2014 after it invaded the Ukrainian region of Crimea and backed an anti-Kiev rebellion in the industrial region of Donbas in eastern Ukraine.

Speaking to reporters in Ottawa during a joint news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said Canada’s position on Russia’s participation in the G7 is “very clear.”

Russia’s violation of international law in invading Crimea and annexing it, in continuing to support war in the Donbas, is something we cannot allow to stand,” Freeland said. If Moscow wants to rejoin the international delegation, it must end the war in the Donbas and leave Crimea, she said.

If those conditions are met, “I think all of us would be delighted to welcome a Russia which sought again to be a member in good standing of our like-minded group of countries,” Freeland added.

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland answers a question from the media during a joint news conference Thursday in Ottawa as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo looks on.

The foreign minister’s remarks echoed those made by a Canadian official during a background news briefing ahead of the G7 meeting on Thursday morning.

Russia was not invited to this meeting and the prime minister’s position, Canada’s position, remains the same as last year when this came up as well. The answer was no,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Canada’s stance echoes opinions put forward by France, Britain and Germany, all of which have rebuffed Trump on the issue. The G7 includes the U.S., Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Canada.