G7 demands Russia stop undermining democracy

La Malbaie (Canada) (AFP) – G7 leaders demanded Saturday that Russia stop what they described as attempts to undermine democracy as they closed the door on Moscow’s readmission to the club.

After rebuffing a call by US President Donald Trump for Russia to be allowed back into the organization’s ranks, the G7 also endorsed Britain’s accusation that Moscow was behind a recent poisoning attack in the southwest of England on one of its own former spies.

“We urge Russia to cease its destabilizing behavior, to undermine democratic systems and its support of the Syrian regime,” said a joint statement issued at the end of a summit in Canada.

“We condemn the attack using a military grade nerve agent in Salisbury, United Kingdom. We share and agree with the United Kingdom’s assessment that it is highly likely that the Russian Federation was responsible for the attack, and that there is no plausible alternative explanation.”

The statement made no mention of Russia being invited back into the group from which it was kicked out of in response to its 2014 annexation of Crimea despite Trump’s insistence that the club would be better off if brought Russia back into the fold.

However the leaders did say they would continue “to engage with Russia on addressing regional crises and global challenges, where it is in our interests.”