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MOSCOW (Reuters) - 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 industrialized 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 was "counterproductive".
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