Claims that President Vladimir Putin will take part in the Group of Seven summit later this year are inaccurate, a top Russian official has said. Moscow added that without China, the talks would be "impossible."
Russia on Saturday denied claims that negotiations were underway for the country to participate in a Group of Seven (G7) summit this year, six years after it was expelled.
"We have not had negotiations of any kind and are not having any," Deputy Defense Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in Moscow.
The comment came after the US ambassador to Russia, John Sullivan, said in an interview with RBC TV that Washington was in talks with the Russian foreign ministry on the subject.
Russia was expelled from the international economic group, previously called the G8, in 2014 following the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
US President Donald Trump, who is hosting this year's summit, previously said it was "common sense" to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to the talks.
Germany, France and Canada are among the other G7 member states that have expressed disapproval at the idea.
Russia calls for China invitation
Russia believes China should be invited to attend, Ryabkov told Russia's TASS news agency.
"Without China, it's simply impossible to discuss any ideas in the modern world," Ryabkov said.
Trump said earlier in the year that he wished to expand the number of attendees and extended invitations to Australia, Russia, South Korea and India. Australia has accepted the US invitation to take part.
"The idea of this so-called extended G7 is flawed because it's not clear how they will address the Chinese factor," Ryabkov said. Under Trump's presidency, tensions between China and the US have reached fever pitch.
Trump originally planned to go ahead with the G7 summit during the summer, but after German Chancellor Angela Merkel and others said they would not attend because of the coronavirus pandemic, the event was postponed to September or later.
ed/mm (dpa, Reuters)