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Basis for exclusion of Russia from G8 still exists - Germany

FILE PHOTO: Germany's Government Spokesperson Steffen Seibert folds his hands prior to the weekly cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, April 29, 2020. Michael Sohn/Pool via REUTERS

BERLIN (Reuters) - Russia was excluded from the Group of Eight powers over its annexation of the Crimea peninsula and the basis for that decision still stands, a German government spokesman said on Wednesday.

“It is up to the Russian leadership to end this situation,” Steffen Seibert told a regular news conference in Berlin.

Russia was expelled from what was then the Group of Eight in 2014 when Donald Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, was U.S. president, after Moscow annexed the Crimea region from Ukraine.

Russia still holds the territory, and various G7 governments have rebuffed previous calls from Trump to re-admit Moscow.

Reporting by Thomas Seythal; editing by Paul Carrel