Having been excluded from the former G8 after Crimea rejoined the Russian Federation, President Vladimir Putin is now a hot item wanted by some German business interests. Many feel that his presence at the June 7-8 meetings is essential. The head of Germany’s Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations, Eckhard Cordes, told Die Welt this weekend that Putin really ought to be invited: "A meeting of the
G7 plus Russia could contribute to solving the crisis and move Russia toward constructive steps in the Ukraine conflict."
Cordes is not alone in his assessment. The former Brandenburg State Premier Matthias Platzeck, current head of the German-Russian forum, agreed with the committee head’s assessment. Platzeck and Cordes assert the G7 need Russia’s help solving a wide range of trade and security issues, including the Ukraine conflict, climate-protection measures and nuclear non-proliferation.
The G7 nations of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the US all slapped Russia with sanctions over the Ukraine/Crimea situation — on top of excluding Putin from the group.
In retaliation, Russia has barred 89 EU officials from entering the country, and has imposed travel restrictions on seven Germans. Michael Fuchs, vice president of the national parliament's conservative CDU-CSU group, and Franco-German former member of the European Parliament Daniel Cohn-Bendit are on the list.
Obama's so-called "reset" with Russia has not materialized, as relations between the west and Moscow have deteriorated into open hostility reminiscent of the Cold War.
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