Russia to 'examine' possible return to G8
Russia said Wednesday that it would "examine" a possible return to the G8, a group of industrialised countries it was expelled from after seizing Crimea from neighbouring Ukraine in 2014.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump expressed support for Moscow's return to the group, marking a new break with its G7 allies that are due to meet this weekend in France's southern city Biarritz.
"If a decision there is taken on Russia then we will examine it and respond," Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said at a press conference.
French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday that it would be "appropriate for Russia to eventually rejoin the G8."
He named "finding a solution on Ukraine" on the basis of existing peace talks as an "essential precondition" for Moscow's return to the group.
Macron, who hosted President Vladimir Putin on Monday, said Russia's role is "important" and that it would be "useful" to include the country in international discussions.
Moscow had last year said it had no intention of returning to the G8 after a first appeal from Trump, saying it was happy to work with the wider G20 format.
On Tuesday, Trump said "it's much more appropriate to have Russia in."
"It should be the G8, because a lot of the things we talk about haveto do with Russia," he told reporters at the White House.
Russia was excluded from the G8 -- a group it was previously a member with the UK, the US, Canada, France, Italy, Japan and Germany -- after annexing the Crimea peninsula in March 2014.
But Trump alleged the reason Russia was kicked out was because his predecessor Barack Obama was "outsmarted" by Putin.
Trump is due to host the next G7 meeting in the United States next year.