• Kyodo

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A U.S. official refrained Monday from elaborating on whether Japan should follow up on its invitation to have Russian President Vladimir Putin visit this fall amid the crisis in Ukraine.

“I would not say that we have any objections,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters when asked if Washington opposes Putin visiting for a summit with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Psaki said the United States is in frequent contact with Japan as well as with other Group of Seven partners and that “beyond that, I would refer you to the government of Japan.”

Abe and Putin agreed in February that he would visit in the fall, with Japan hoping the trip could help resolve the territorial dispute over the Russian-held islands off Hokkaido.

In March, however, the G-7, which also includes Britain, Canada, France, Germany and Italy, booted Russia from the Group of Eight major nations in protest of its annexation of Crimea in eastern Ukraine.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday the plan for Putin’s trip remains unchanged, though Tokyo and Moscow have yet to announce further details, such as the exact timing of the visit.

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