Moscow Raps European Union over Setting Conditions for Ties with Russia

Moscow Raps European Union over Setting Conditions for Ties with Russia
Wed Mar 16, 2016 13:33:36

The Russian Foreign Ministry has blasted the European Union (EU) for setting conditions for its normalization of ties with Moscow, including one involving Ukraine.

“Brussels is, in fact, making the fate of Russia-EU relations hostage of the Ukrainian authorities,” said the Russian ministry in a Tuesday statement.

The EU has said that the normalization of ties with Russia hinges on, among four other things, the implementation of the Minsk accord on the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

“The absurdity of this commitment is becoming more and more apparent,” it said, adding that it is not Moscow but the Western-backed government authorities in Kiev that resort to all measures to avoid fulfilling their part of the Minsk agreements.

The agreement, which entails a ceasefire, was signed in February 2015 following the intensification of armed clashes between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russia fighters in eastern Ukraine.

The Russian Foreign Ministry also slammed the EU’s other “guiding principle” of enhancing its ties with former Soviet bloc countries—Russia’s neighbors—before upgrading ties with Russia, saying that the EU aims to undermine the neighborly relations between Russia and those countries.

“Brussels seems to be planning to force the Central Asian countries to make the bogus choice—either the EU or Russia,” as it happened with Ukraine, the statement read.

The development came after the EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Monday that there were “unanimity among the 28” EU members on five broad “principle” for upgrading ties with Moscow.

Apart from the condition on Ukraine, the principles also include enhancing ties with eastern European and Central Asian nations, the strengthening of EU resilience in the energy and other sectors, “selective engagement” with Russia on foreign policy issues vital to the EU, as well as boosting people-to-people contacts and supporting Russia’s civil society.

Moscow said that “selective engagement” is unlikely to work for the EU in relations with Russia.

As for support for civil society, the Russian ministry also said that Moscow “won’t allow any interference in Russia’s internal affairs.”

"The Russian Foreign Ministry said, however, that it is ready to strengthen ties with the EU based on mutually accepted terms, not unilateral approaches."

Ties between the EU and the Kremlin deteriorated following the Ukrainian crisis, leading the EU to impose a wave of sanctions on Russia, alleging that it was involved in the conflict.

Moscow has consistently rejected such claims and imposed its own restrictive measures in response, including a ban on food imports from the EU, Press TV reported.

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