WASHINGTON, DC — Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Committee on Armed Services Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-RI), Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Ranking Member Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) today sent a letter to President Donald Trump expressing strong opposition to the readmission of President Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation to the Group of 7 (G7), after President Trump indicated that he may invite President Putin to next year’s G7 meeting in the United States. The Senators maintain that President Putin was rightfully excluded from the then Group of 8 (G8) following Russia’s invasion and illegal annexation of Crimea, which was a direct and flagrant violation of international agreements.
Schumer, Reed, Menendez, and Warner write that Russia does not currently possess the democratic institutions nor the economic capacity to rejoin the Group, pointing to the Russian government’s actions since its expulsion in 2014, including malign influence in 2016 and 2018 U.S. elections; malign influence in the democracies of our closest allies in Europe; the 2018 Chemical Weapons Attack on UK soil; continued occupation of Georgian territory; its ongoing support, military and otherwise, to authoritarian governments around the world, including the Assad and Maduro regimes; and the widespread persecution of minority groups and political opponents in Russia. All of which demonstrate disturbing, consistent disregard for international norms and rule of law.
The Senators state that President Putin – under no circumstances – should be readmitted to the G7 until the Russian government undertakes demonstrable actions to show its willingness to be a responsible actor on the world stage.
Senators Schumer, Reed, Menendez, and Warner’s letter to President Trump can be found here and below:
August 27, 2019
President Donald Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Trump,
We write to express our strong opposition to the readmission of President Putin and the Russian Federation to the Group of 7 (G7) industrialized democracies. The G7 serves as an economic council of democracies dedicated to advancing the global economy in a manner consistent with international law and shared values. Russia does not currently possess the democratic institutions nor the economic capacity to rejoin the Group, and the Putin regime’s actions since its expulsion in 2014 demonstrate that the Russian government is not prepared to productively contribute to the efforts of the G7.
In 2014, as you know, President Putin was rightfully excluded from the then Group of 8 (G8) following Russia’s invasion and illegal annexation of Crimea. The Russian military’s incursion onto the Crimean Peninsula violated bilateral and multilateral agreements guaranteeing the integrity of Ukraine following the collapse of the Soviet Union. If President Putin’s regime is willing to directly and flagrantly violate these international agreements and disregard the sovereignty of its neighbors, the Russian government should not be trusted with a leadership position on the world stage.
Moreover, since its expulsion from the G8, the Russian government has consistently demonstrated a persistent flouting of international norms and the rule of law, including its:
- Malign influence in 2016 and 2018 US elections, including multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our elections;
- Malign interference in the democracies of our closest allies in Europe;
- 2018 chemical weapons attack conducted on British soil;
- Continued illegal occupation of Georgian territory;
- Ongoing military and other support to authoritarian governments around the world, such as the Assad and Maduro regimes; and
- Widespread persecution of minority groups and political opponents in Russia.
For these reasons, under no circumstances should President Putin be invited to participate in the G7 until the Russian government undertakes demonstrable actions to show its willingness to behave responsibly both domestically and abroad. The G7 nations are unified by both economic status and a shared commitment to democratic values, human rights, and the rule of law. Readmitting Putin’s Russia to the G7 would be contrary to our values and a clear abdication of the United States’ responsibilities as the world’s leading democracy.