US senators cite occupation of Georgia in letter to Trump against readmitting Russia to G7

Four members of the US Senate addressed the letter citing Russia's occupation of Georgia to president Trump this week. Photo:, 29 Aug 2019 - 14:05, Tbilisi,Georgia

Four American senators have written to president Trump urging him not to consider readmitting Russia in G7 intergovernmental economic organisation and citing the ongoing occupation of two Georgian regions by Russian troops for their stance.

Senators Charles Schumer, Jack Reed, Robert Menendez and Mark Warner sent their letter to the US president on Tuesday, expressing their "strong opposition" to a possible reconsideration of the 2014 expulsion of Russia from the then-G8, in the wake of the country's annexation of Krimea during the conflict in Ukraine.

The letter followed a meeting of G7 in France this week, where Trump voiced his support for readmitting Russia in the group of leading economic powers. The address by the four lawmakers said Russian president Putin was "rightfully excluded" from the council in 2014 but also referred to the "continued illegal occupation of Georgian territory" since the 2008 between Russia and Georgia.

The senators cited the occupation of Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) and Abkhazia as an example of Russia's "persistent flouting of international norms and the rule of law" since the country's government was disinvited from the group five years ago.

If President Putin's regime is willing to directly and flagrantly violate these international agreements and disregard the sovereignty of its neighbors, the Russian government should not be trusted with a leadership position on the world stage," the letter read.

The authors of the address urged president Trump to "under no circumstances" invite Putin to take part in G7 meetings unless the Russian government made "demonstrable actions" of "behav[ing] responsibly both domestically and abroad".

The letter ended by stressing readmitting the country to the Group of Seven would be a step "contrary to our values and  a clear abdication of the United States' responsibilities as the world's leading democracy".

Last week, the US Department of State called on Russia to "suspend its illegal occupation of 20 percent of Georgian territory".