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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Membership in G8 Defended

A top Kremlin official on Tuesday insisted that Russia deserved to remain in the Group of Eight and warned of growing Cold War-style rhetoric and an "anti-Russian campaign" in the West.

Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin's deputy spokesman, was responding to increasing warnings in the West that accuse President Vladimir Putin of growing authoritarianism.

Two influential U.S. senators earlier this month said the United States should stand up to Putin. Democrat Joseph Biden, incoming chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, suggested that Russia should not be included the club of the world's wealthiest democracies.

Peskov said Russia, which held the rotating presidency of the G8 this year, had fulfilled its job "effectively and successfully. ... Russia is and should be a full-fledged member of the Group of Eight."

He also accused Western politicians, analysts and the media of using the murders of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya and former security agent Alexander Litvinenko to wage an "extremely aggressive anti-Russian campaign."