Russian Foreign Ministry: framework of Russia-EU relations destroyed
Despite Moscow's readiness to discuss problems with the EU, the framework of relations was deliberately destroyed by the European side, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
"We are ready to discuss problems. When it meets, among other things, Russia's interests, we interact both on climate change and the environment, but the framework of these relations was deliberately destroyed at the initiative of Brussels," the Minister of Foreign Affairs told a news conference after his talks with Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto.
Lavrov noted that the EU's connivance with regard to the violation of the rights of Russian-speakers, attacks on the Russian language and Russian culture, and the closure of Russian-language TV channels speaks of the EU's distance from Russia.
"Of course, we cannot but take into account the EU condoning blatant breaches of Russian speakers, Russians, and the attacks on the Russian language and culture that we witness in the Baltic States, Ukraine and some other countries. When Russian-speaking [TV] channels are shut down, when criminal cases are opened against Russian-speaking journalists for simply doing their jobs, when the disgraceful institute of statelessness remains in the EU, while the European Union watches it all without any desire to change anything, I believe that it is not Russia distancing itself from the EU, but the very EU moving away from the Russian language, Russian culture and all things Russian, meaning that it is drifting away from the Russian Federation," the minister noted.
However, Moscow will be ready to restore relations. "The European Union gets to choose. If it decides that relations need to be restored and the actions to break them, which I mentioned, are reversed, we will be also ready," Lavrov added.
The Russian Foreign Minister stressed that Russia is ready to consider "any issues that may be of mutual interest," relations with European countries will continue.
"You shouldn't confuse the European Union with Europe. We are not leaving Europe. We have many friends in Europe, many like-minded people. We will continue to develop mutually beneficial relations with them," he said.