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Russia's Putin rejects G7 criticism

June 10, 2018

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.

Vladimir Putin
Image: Reuters/A. Druzhinin

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.

Read more: G7 summit fails to calm trade tensions as Trump refuses to endorse joint statement

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.

Read more: Vladimir Putin: 'Russia does not want to split EU'

Putin and Rohani in China (Irna)
Putin held talks with Iran's President Rouhani on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation OrganizationImage: Irna

Putin's diplomacy

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.

Trump refused to endorse joint G7 statement
Trump refused to endorse joint G7 statement

Read more: China celebrates unity within Eurasian SCO bloc as G7 struggles with Trump

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.

Read more: Iran tells UN it will boost uranium enrichment capacity

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)