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"I'm back." Putin at the G20 in 2019. Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/AFP via Getty Images

Trump and Vladimir Putin discussed plans for September's G7 summit today.

Why it matters: That may sound unusual, until you recall that Russia was expelled from the then-G8 in 2014 over its invasion of Crimea.

As this year's host, Trump can invite additional countries to attend. He plans to include Russia, Australia, India and South Korea in a summit that was pushed back from late June after Germany's Angela Merkel said she wouldn't attend due to COVID-19.

  • Following Trump's curveball, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the U.K. would veto any attempt to bring Russia back into the fold as a member, something Trump has floated in the past.
  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau went a step further, seeming to object to the idea of Russia attending the summit in any capacity, while declining to say whether he'd boycott if Russia was invited.

Between the lines: After broadening the invite list, Trump criticized the current G7 lineup — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S — as "outdated."

  • Trudeau said the annual G7 summits bring together "allies and friends who share so much," while the G20 — which includes Russia as well as China — includes countries "we don’t necessarily have great relations with."

Meanwhile, Putin today set July 1 as the new date for a constitutional referendum that could allow him to remain in power through 2036.

  • Putin was forced to delay the referendum from April due to the coronavirus pandemic. He set the date despite his falling popularity amid Russia's continued struggles to contain its outbreak.

Go deeper: Pandemic brings Putin down to size

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
Sep 3, 2020 - World

Putin, poison and the pipeline

Merkel in the middle. Photo: Gao Jing/Xinhua via Getty

Angela Merkel’s call to action over the nerve agent attack on Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been turned around on her: demands that the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas project be scrapped are growing louder.

Why it matters: The pipeline is nearly complete, and it would double Russia’s capacity to export gas directly to Germany.

Scoop: Border officials project 13,000 child migrants in May

The "El Chaparral" border crossing at Tijuana. Photo: Stringer/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

A Customs and Border Protection staffer told top administration officials Thursday the agency is projecting a peak of 13,000 unaccompanied children crossing the border in May, sources directly familiar with the discussion told Axios.

Why it matters: That projection would exceed the height of the 2019 crisis, which led to the infamous "kids-in-cages" disaster. It also underscores a rapidly escalating crisis for the Biden administration.

1 hour ago - World

U.S. strikes Iran-backed militia facilities in Syria

President Biden at the Pentagon on Feb. 10. Photo: Alex Brandon - Pool/Getty Images

The United States on Thursday carried out an airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to an Iran-backed militia group, the Pentagon announced.

The state of play: The strike, approved by President Biden, comes "in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement.

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