Steinmeier: there is need to maintain dialogue with Russia
Europe and Russia have a long way to go before they bring relations back to normal but there is a need to maintain dialogue with Russia instead of isolating it, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in an interview with the Finnish Helsingin Sanomat newspaper ahead of his visit to Finland.
"No one can be happy about the current state of Germany and Europe’s relations with Russia," he noted. According to Steinmeier, Russia's activities in eastern Ukraine and Crimea greatly affected relations. "We want to improve relations but we still have a long way to be before we bring them back to normal," he pointed out. "However, Russia remains Europe’s neighbor and Finland is the country that understands it better than others," TASS cited the German president as saying.
Steinmeier believes that it was not right to isolate Russia. "Those who wish to look not only to the past but to the future as well, need to search for ways to communicate, particularly in hard times," he called on.
The German president also noted that issues related to Russia should be discussed with Russia. "At least, this was what I did last autumn, when I met with President Putin in Russia," he stressed. "These kind of discussions will not improve anything in an instant but I am sure that if we keep silent, risks will grow and no new alternatives will emerge," Steinmeier believes.