NEW YORK – Responding to a question posed by a journalist about whether Russia should be reinstated in the Group of Seven, the world’s largest advanced economies, President Donald Trump said that “it’s much more appropriate to have Russia in [the G-7. …I could certainly see it being the G-8 again. And if somebody would make that motion, I would certainly be disposed to think about it very favorably.”
The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), the representative organization for over 1.5 million Americans of Ukrainian descent, reacted by saying that President Trump “gave the wrong answer.” The president’s comment had come on August 20, while he sat alongside President Klaus Iohannis of Romania in the Oval Office.
In a statement released on August 21, the UCCA strongly denounced the suggestion that Russia be allowed back into the G-7.
The UCCA had denounced similar proposals made by President Trump in 2018, which were met with rejection by the leaders of Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom and France at the 2018 G-7 summit, as well as by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) among other leaders in Congress.
A UCCA release noted: “In proposing this change in United States policy, President Trump either disregarded, or was unaware, that in 2014 the G-7 canceled its planned summit in the Russian city of Sochi, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula – the first forced annexation Europe had seen since the second world war.”
At the same time, the G-7 countries issued the Hague Declaration, which unequivocally tied Russia’s expulsion from the G-7 to its actions in Ukraine: “We condemn the illegal referendum held in Crimea in violation of Ukraine’s Constitution. We also strongly condemn Russia’s illegal attempt to annex Crimea in contravention of international law and specific international obligations. We do not recognize either… Today, we reaffirm that Russia’s actions will have significant consequences.”
Since that declaration, Russia has only increased its transgressions, while continuing to undermine democracy in Europe, the UCCA pointed out.
“To be clear, it would not be ‘more appropriate to have Russia in’ the G-7,” stated UCCA President Andriy Futey. “Until the Russian Federation ceases its actions in Ukraine and removes itself from all internationally recognized Ukrainian territory, Russia must remain suspended from membership in the group of the world’s largest advanced economies, as its actions in Ukraine contravene the principles and values on which the G-7 operates.”
The UCCA release argued: “The United States, as the bastion of democracy in the free world, and the president, as its executive, must take the lead in promoting international norms, defending basic human rights and freedoms, and charting a course of geopolitical stability. The president could start by visiting Ukraine in the coming months, and see first-hand why Russia does not belong in the G-7.”