Russia interested in restoring EU ties

Russia is interested in restoring ties with the European Union (EU), but it firmly opposes the latter interfering in internal affairs, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Russia never initiated the decline in relations with the EU, Peskov told a daily briefing on Monday, stressing the need to build a partnership based on non-interference and respect for each other’s interests.

“We are strongly against interference in each other’s interests… Let there be no doubt that we will act decisively in this regard,” Xinhua news agency quoted the spokesman as saying.

“But this does not mean that we somehow want to distance ourselves or further worsen the already deteriorating relationship between Moscow and Brussels.

“On the contrary, we are interested in its development,” he added.

Peskov’s comments came the same day after Josep Borrell, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, made pessimistic remarks on Russia-EU ties.

“My visit to Moscow highlighted that Russia does not want to seize the opportunity to have a more constructive dialogue with the EU. This is regrettable and we will have to draw the consequences,” Borrell said following his trip to Moscow from February 4-7 .

“My meeting with (Russian Foreign) Minister Sergei Lavrov and the messages sent by Russian authorities during my visit confirmed that Europe and Russia are drifting apart,” he added.

Prior to Peskov’s remarks, Lavrov said earlier in the day that he had told Borrell the blame for the collapse in Russia-EU relations rested on Brussels, TASS News Agency reported.

“During talks with Josep Borrell in Moscow, I spoke about importance of building Russia-EU relations on a systemic basis. I recalled that back in 2014 the EU had ruined the architecture of comprehensive ties with our country, which had been painstakingly built for years,” he said in a statement.

But he also said that during the talks with Borrell, the Russian side had reiterated its commitment to normalising relations with the bloc.

“Not on the basis of unilateral ultimatums, but on the basis of mutual respect and reckoning with each other’s interests. With such an approach, we are ready for cooperation in those areas where we have similar interests,” the Foreign Minister added.