French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday suggested that Europe should reach out to Russia to ensure it remains in the scope of Western nations, a day after President Trump floated the notion that Moscow be reinstated to the G-7.
Macron, who hosted the annual gathering of world leaders in the group over the weekend, said France could play a role as a “balancing power” between Russia and its rivals, including the US.
“Pushing Russia from Europe is a profound strategic error,” Macron said, according to the Associated Press, adding that isolating Russia has pushed it to build an alliance with China and expand its influence into Syria and Libya.
“It’s not in our interest to be weak and guilty, to forget all our disagreements and to embrace each other again,” he said. “The European continent will never be stable, will never be in security, if we don’t pacify and clarify our relations with Russia.”
Macron did not say he wanted to lift European Union sanctions against Russia for illegally annexing Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, but he also said new penalties “are not in our interest.”
Speaking at the gathering in Biarritz, France, Trump on Monday said he was weighing inviting Russian President Vladimir Putin to the G-7 summit he’ll be hosting next year, saying, ”I think it would be better to have Russia inside the tent than outside the tent.”
Macron met with Putin last week before the G-7 meetings and they agreed to hold talks involving Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany in an effort to stabilize ties with Europe.
Russia had been a member of the G-7, then known as the G-8, along with the US, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan, but was suspended over its military action in Crimea.
More than 13,000 people have been killed in fighting in eastern Ukraine since 2014.
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