Russia is ready to work with all Western partners on issues of common interests provided the feeling is mutual, President Vladimir Putin said recently.
“It was not Russia that cut off cooperation through the G8 or the Russia-NATO Council. We are willing to interact with everyone, once there is a matter for common discussion. We think that there is one, but a relationship can be happy only when the feeling is mutual,” Putin said.
Russia’s relations with the West have been strained since the start of fighting in eastern Ukraine in early 2014.
The West has accused Moscow of interference in Ukraine’s internal affairs and imposed targeted sanctions on key sectors of the Russian economy – energy, defense and banking.
European Union (EU) sanctions were prolonged for another six months at a meeting of the EU Council in late December.
“We planned to host the G8 summit in 2014. I would not say that this mechanism is useless. Meetings, discussions, seeking solutions together are always beneficial,” he said.
The Russian leader added that Russia’s presence in the group was useful, since it provided an alternative view on some issues under discussion, which are also reviewed within the G20, APEC and BRICS organisations.
According to Putin, Russia never became a full-fledged G8 member, since there were always separate negotiations between foreign ministers of the other seven states — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.