President Vladimir Putin has rebuffed the G7 summit criticism as "creative babbling" and said his country would be happy to be readmitted to the bloc. Putin also hinted at a possible meeting with President Donald Trump.
Dismissing criticism by the Group of Seven (G7) industrialized nations, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday that it was time to start cooperating again.
"I believe it's necessary to stop this creative babbling and shift to concrete issues related to real cooperation," Putin told reporters in the Chinese city of Qingdao, during a Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit.
On Saturday, G7 participants slammed Russia's support for the Syrian regime and Moscow's attempts to undermine democracy at a meeting in Quebec City, Canada.
G7 leaders also endorsed Britain's accusation that Russia was behind the nerve gas attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March.
Putin said the G7 countries "again" failed to provide any evidence that his country was behind the Skripal poisoning in the southwest of England.
"Everyone demonstrated solidarity with London over a certain event in Salisbury but nothing concrete was said again," he added.
Putin held talks with Iran's President Rouhani on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization
Although G7 leaders ignored US President Donald Trump's proposal to invite back Moscow into the club, Putin said he would be happy to be readmitted. Russia was kicked out of the G7 after it annexed Ukraine's Crimea in 2014.
The G7 group consists of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US.
"As for Russia's return to the G7, G8 — we never left it," Putin said. "Back in the day, colleagues refused to come to Russia due to certain reasons. Please, we would be happy to see everyone in Moscow," he added.
SCO versus G7
Putin emphasized the significance of the SCO, which includes Russia and China, and said the combined purchasing power of the SCO was bigger than G7.
The SCO was created in 2001 by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan joined the grouping as full members last year at a summit in Astana, Kazakhstan.
Putin also lambasted Trump's decision to withdraw from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, saying the decision could "destabilize the situation" in the region.
Despite tensions in the US-Russia relationship, Putin did not rule out the possibility of a meeting with Trump. The US president has said he was open to having a summit with Putin, who US intelligence officials claim directed Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.
shs/amp (AFP, AP)