Stephen Harper renews attack on Russia's Vladimir Putin over Ukraine
Russian leader has 'no place' in G7, doesn't share Western interests, PM tells U.S. interviewer
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has renewed his condemnation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, even as the G7 summit seemed to balk at Ukraine's plea for weapons in its struggle with Russian-backed separatists.
Harper told U.S. television channel CNBC in an interview that Putin does not share Western values and has "no place" at the summit, which chose not to invite the Russian leader for the second year in a row.
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"We are having a discussion on the shared interests of the Western democratic world," Harper said Sunday. "Mr. Putin, who is in no way part of that, has no place at the table, and I don't believe there's any leader who would defend Mr. Putin having a place."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said G7 members agreed Monday that sanctions on Russia must remain in place as long as Russia fails to respect a ceasefire agreed to in Minsk in February.
Harper said the Russian economy has little in common with Western ones.
"Mr. Putin runs an entirely different system … he runs an economy that is dominated by oligarchs and criminal syndicates. It is not at all like our economy, it doesn't share our interests, it doesn't share our values, and so I think we need to have discussions where we can really rally the shared interests of the Western democratic world."
Harper added that Putin's presence in what was previously the G8 was not productive.
"His presence in the past, quite frankly, was undermining the coherence and effectiveness of this organization, and I don't think there is much appetite to have him back. Certainly Canada, and I know others, would strongly oppose him ever returning."