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France wants progress in Ukraine before Russia returns to G7

France wants progress in Ukraine before Russia returns to G7
A Russian national flag is seen at the roof of the Russian embassy in Kiev, Ukraine, September 18, 2016. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich -
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Gleb Garanich(Reuters)
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PARIS (Reuters) – Russia’s readmission to the group of seven nations depends on progress in peace talks over Ukraine, a French diplomatic source said, responding to comments by U.S. President Donald Trump that Moscow should be restored to the group.

“We have taken note that the Americans want to reintegrate them next year. Ukraine is vital. There is a context that could be favourable to some progress,” the diplomatic source said on Wednesday, referring to comments by the new Ukrainian president.

Trump said on Tuesday it would be appropriate to let Russia return the G7 group of advanced industrialised countries, telling reporters at the White House that his Democrat predecessor Barack Obama had wanted Russia out of what used to be the G8.

Russia was pushed out of the G8 in 2014 because of its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. The European Union subsequently slapped sanctions on Moscow after it supported rebels fighting Kiev troops in the east of the country.

It was not the first time Trump has floated the idea of Russia getting back together with the G7, which groups the United States, Germany, Japan, France, Britain, Italy and Canada. Their leaders meet this weekend in the southwestern French town of Biarritz.

(Reporting by Michel Rose; writing by John Irish; editing by Richard Lough)

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