Last week, Trump argued that Russia should be allowed to rejoin the G7 during the summit in Quebec, Canada.
Russia was kicked out of the then-G8 in 2014 following the violent annexation of the peninsula from Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin defended the move saying that he had the right to protect Russian citizens and Russian speakers in Ukraine.
Now diplomatic sources, who spoke anonymously to Buzzfeed, say Trump went as far as to appear to defend Russia’s actions, saying that most people in Crimea spoke Russian anyway.
President Trump reportedly told G7 leaders that he believed Crimea was part of Russia because people there spoken Russian
During a discussion on foreign affairs on Friday, Trump apparently questioned why the G7 leaders were siding with Ukraine, saying that ‘Ukraine is one of the most corrupt countries in the world,’ according to the source.
When pressed about the president’s comments on Thursday, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed she wasn’t there so couldn’t comment.
‘I’m not aware of any comment like that,’ Sanders said. ‘I know it been reported but I’m not going to comment on a private conversation I wasn’t a part of.’
It is not yet clear whether Trump’s comments indicate a change in policy.
But the president made his feelings on the matter very clear last week, telling reporters as he left the White House for the summit in Canada that Russia should be readmitted to the G7 which represents the world’s seven most advanced nations, and includes the US, Germany, France, Italy, the UK, Japan, and Canada.
During a discussion on foreign affairs on Friday, Trump apparently questioned why the G7 leaders were siding with Ukraine (President Donald Trump (R) talking with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (C) and surrounded by other G7 leaders during a meeting of the G7 Summit)
L-R: British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, US President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Italian Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte
On the second day of the summit, dismissed the annexation of Crimea as ‘something that happened a while ago’ which shouldn’t now stand in the way of peace.
‘This used to be the G8, not the G7,’ Trump said at a press conference on Charlevoix near Quebec after attending a breakfast earlier in the day with foreign leaders.
‘I have not spoken to Vladimir Putin for quite a while. It has been discussed and some people quite like the idea of bringing Russia back in.’
‘Something happened a while ago and I think it would be an asset to have Russia back in.
‘I think it would be good for Russia and I think the G8 would be better having Russia back in would be a positive thing.
‘We’re looking for peace in the world. We’re not looking to play games,’ he said.
Later, when pushed on whether or not he supported Putin taking control of the peninsula, he was vague.
‘Crimea was let go during the Obama administration and Obama can say all he wants but he allowed Russia to take Crimea.
Russian President Vladimir Putin defended the move saying that he had the right to protect Russian citizens and Russian speakers in Ukraine
‘I may have had a much different attitude.
‘Why did he do that? Why did he do that? ‘That being said, it’s been done a long time,’ he said.
He added: ‘I would rather see Russia in the G8 as opposed to the G7.
‘The G8 is a more meaningful group than the G7.’
Russia continues to remain under U.S. and European sanctions for its annexation and incursion into part of Ukraine. Russia got kicked out of the group after it annexed Crimea.
‘They should let Russia come back in because we should have Russia at the negotiating table,’ Trump said before boarding Marine One on his way home from the summit.
‘Why are we having a meeting without Russia being in the meeting?’ Trump asked.
‘They threw Russia out. They should let Russia come back in.’
His unexpected gesture toward Moscow came in an extended extemporaneous press event under the roar of Marine One’s engines, where the president also:
THE ANNEXATION OF CRIMEA
The Republic of Crimea is a small peninsula between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.
In February 2014, Russia, under Putin’s watch, took control of it from Ukraine in a violent take-over which saw Kremlin-backed troops descend on the region.
Police officers arrest a protester in Moscow, March 2, 2014, during clashes over Russia’s annexation of Crimea
The majority of Crimea’s 2million residents speak Russian and had voted to join Russia officially in a referendum but the vote was deemed illegal by Ukraine and by the rest of the West.
There also remained a huge portion of the population who consider themselves Ukrainian and not Russian, along with the Crimean Tatar population – a predominantly Muslim community who suffered under Russian leaders in the past.
The dispute sparked violent clashes in the area and was condemned internationally.
President Obama slammed Putin’s seizure of it as ‘illegitimate’ and he slapped sanctions on Russia as a result.
At the time, Putin was part of the G8 but its leaders moved to expel him in response.
In a statement at the time, they said it went against the principles of the international community.
The region had been fought over for years.
From 1793 until 1954, it was part of Russia. In the 1950s, it was transferred to Ukraine by the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.
During Russia’s control of it, particularly in the years of Stalin’s leadership, Crimean Tatars were persecuted.
Stalin believed they had worked with German occupiers and sent many of them in exile to parts of Asia.
Trump cast his opinion on Russia in pragmatic terms, though he said it was up to the group.
‘I would recommend, and it’s up to them, but Russia should be in the meeting. It should be a part of it,’ he said.
‘You know, whether you like it or not, and it may not be politically correct, but we have a world to run,’ Trump told reporters in extended remarks before his trip.
‘And in the G7, which used to be the G8, they threw Russia out. They should let Russia come back in,’ the president said.
It is just the latest in a series of times the president has sought to bolster ties with the Kremlin, including resisting a sanctions bill pushed by Congress that he ultimately signed, calling for warmer relations with Moscow, and restating Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denials of election interference after a one-on-one meeting.
The opinion is sure to ruffle other European leaders who were unanimous in their expulsion of Russia from the group in 2014.
They condemned both Putin and Ukraine – which held an illegal referendum on the status of Crimea – saying at the time that both violated international laws and ethics.
A handshake, or an embrace: Trump was effusive as he greeted Justin Trudeau who is hosting the G7, but it was Emmanuel Macron who was hugged by the Canadian. The French and Canadian leaders were both attacked by Trump on twitter
Time for business: Trump sat beside Justin Trudeau at the start of the first formal G7 session. The Canadian prime minister was hosting and therefore chairing the summit
Complaint: Trump had been said to be tired of British minister Theresa May’s tone and did not appear to be offering her warm looks
‘International law prohibits the acquisition of part or all of another state’s territory through coercion or force,” according to a joint statement at the time. “To do so violates the principles upon which the international system is built. We condemn the illegal referendum held in Crimea in violation of Ukraine’s constitution.’
The statement continued: ‘We also strongly condemn Russia’s illegal attempt to annex Crimea in contravention of international law and specific international obligations.’
Trump’s bold pronouncement came after he already has been engaged in angry back-and-forth with traditional allies France and Canada in a trade war. The Trump administration slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum imported form the allies, citing a national security exception.
The Canadian prime minster blasted back mentioning Canada’s military contributions in Afghanistan, while French President Emanuel Macron said Thursday the remaining six G6 nations could operate without U.S. leadership.
And at the summit, he got a warm welcome from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, but his scheduled meeting with French President Emanuel Macron got scratched at the outset.
Aides were able to cobble together a meeting for later on Monday.
‘We’ve had really a very good relationship, very special,’ Trump said at first. ‘A lot of people wrote a couple of things that weren’t quite true – a little bit accurate, perhaps – we’ve had a little test every once in a while when it comes to trade,’ the president then acknowledged.
It capped off a brief stop in Quebec where he appeared isolated by other world leaders.
Despite reports of frosty relations between them, Trump insisted that his relationships with other countries were ‘a 10’.
On Saturday, as the G7 met in Quebec, Putin held a summit of his own with the President of Iran, one of Trump’s political enemies.
They grinned as they posed for photographs in China together as the European leaders and Trump discussed how to combat Iran’s nuclear plans and support of terrorist groups.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk