Moscow’s occupation of Ukrainian territory makes it unacceptable for Russia to be reintegrated into the elite G7 group, Poland’s president said on Monday, according to RIA Novosti.
President Andrzej Duda’s remarks came after U.S. President Donald Trump insisted last month that Russia, which was barred from the G7 in 2014 after it attacked Ukraine, should be welcomed back into the group.
“Should we have a ‘business as usual’ approach towards Russia? … I believe that we cannot under the current circumstances,” President Andrzej Duda told reporters at a joint press conference with visiting U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.
The issue of Russia’s reintegration into the G7 group of the world’s rich nations divided leaders at its summit last week in France, as Trump pushed for Moscow to be allowed back after its 2014 expulsion.
Russia was kicked out of what was then the Group of Eight after it annexed Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, a move never recognized by the international community. But Trump, who will host next year’s G7 summit, said he would invite Russia to the event, a move supported by France but criticized by Britain and Germany. Poland is not a G7 member.
Speaking alongside Duda on Monday, Pence struck a different tone, insisting that it was crucial to “remain vigilant” towards Russia. He accused Moscow of attempting to meddle in elections and use its oil and gas supplies to “divide our alliance”, in an apparent reference to the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline set to send Russian gas to Germany.
Washington and Warsaw, among others, oppose the pipeline, fearing it will increase Europe’s reliance on Russian energy supplies which Moscow could then use to exert political pressure. Poland has long cultivated close ties with the U.S., which it regards as the primary guarantor of its security within the NATO alliance and as a bulwark against Russia, its Soviet-era master with whom tensions still run high. Pence confirmed that the U.S. and Poland would later on Monday sign a joint declaration on digital infrastructure security.