US President Donald Trump has said at a G7 summit in Canada that Russia should be readmitted to the group of major industrialized nations, the BBC reports.
But German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the EU members attending the summit all agreed that should not happen.
Mr Trump said he regretted the meeting had shrunk in size.
“You know, whether you like it or – and it may not be politically correct – but we have a world to run and in the G7, which used to be the G8, they threw Russia out. They should let Russia come back in,” he said.
He found support in the shape of the newly installed Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who tweeted that it was “in the interests of everyone” for Russia to be readmitted.
But later Germany’s Angela Merkel said all the EU members there, including Mr Conte, agreed that Russia could not be readmitted unless there was “progress” on Ukraine. Canada too says it remains opposed.
A Kremlin spokesperson meanwhile said they were interested in “other formats”, apart from the G7.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is currently in Beijing, where he was presented with a friendship medal by Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.