(Adds quotes, background)
MOSCOW, March 25 Russia wants to continue
contacts with G8 member states, President Vladimir Putin's
spokesman was quoted as saying on Tuesday, after the other seven
members suspended their participation in the group.
Leaders of the Group of Seven nations, which does not
include Russia, also agreed on Monday to hold their own summit
instead of attending a G8 meeting in Russia in June because of
Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
It will be the first time since Russia joined the Group of
Eight in 1998 that it will have been shut out of the annual
summit of industrialised democracies.
Asked about contacts with the other G8 nations, Kremlin
spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by Interfax news
agency: "The Russian side continues to be ready to have such
contacts at all levels, including the top level. We are
interested in such contacts."
Itar-Tass news agency quoted Peskov as saying the signs from
other countries that they were unwilling to continue dialogue
The United States and the European Union have imposed some
sanctions on Moscow, including visa bans for some of Putin's
inner circle, and warned of additional measures if Putin does
not change course.
(Reporting by Katya Golubkova, Editing by Timothy Heritage)