Russia is ready to resume cooperation with the European Union is it demonstrates reciprocal interest, the Kremlin press service quoted Russian President Vladimir Putin as saying during videoconference talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday.
In a telephone conversation with European Council President Charles Michel on March 22, the Russian president said that the unsatisfactory situation in Russia-EU relations had stemmed from the partners’ non-constructive and even confrontational policy. The Russian side stressed its readiness to resume cooperation with the European Union if Brussels also wanted it. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said earlier that Russia was a dangerous neighbor to the European Union but channels of communications with it should be maintained all the same. He claimed that Russia had embarked on a path of confrontation with the European Union.
“The leaders discussed the situation in relations between Russia and the European Union. The Russian side once again said it is ready to resume normal depoliticized cooperation with the European Union if reciprocal interest is demonstrated,” the Kremlin said.
The leaders also addressed the situation in Ukraine, Belarus, Syria and Libya, as well as other international issues.
During the talks, Putin stressed the inadmissibility of meddling with Belarus’ domestic affairs, the Kremlin press service said
“When discussing the situation in Belarus, Vladimir Putin stressed the inadmissibility of foreign interference into domestic affairs of a sovereign state,” it said.
Sputnik V prospects
Possible supplies of the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine to the European Union were among the topics discussed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, the Kremlin press service said.
“Special attention was focused on the task to consolidate efforts to combat the common threat – the coronavirus pandemic. In this context, the leaders discussed measures to prevent further spread of the disease,” the Kremlin said.
The leaders also looked at “prospects for the registration of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine in the European Union and its possible supplies and joint production in EU countries,” it said.
EU’s Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said on March 21 that the European Union did not need Russia’s Sputnik V. Commenting of such words about the Russian vaccine, Putin stressed that Russia never imposed anything on anyone but such statements made one think that EU officials were more interested in supporting certain companies rather than their nationals. Putin said earlier that in terms of combating the coronavirus pandemic “only consolidated efforts can help attain a desired result across the globe and the result must be really global.”
The Kremlin earlier slammed Macron’s statement of March 25 that Russia and China were allegedly using their coronavirus vaccines as an instrument of influence. Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov stressed that Russia was a responsible member of the international community and never sought to politicize vaccine-related topics or use the vaccine as an instrument of influence./TASS