Russia Ready For EU Free Trade Talks, Says Lavrov ({{commentsTotal}})

Venemaa välisminister Sergei Lavrov.
Venemaa välisminister Sergei Lavrov. Source: AP Photo/Scanpix

There is no alternative to improving relations between Russia and the EU, said Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, and Russia is ready to discuss a free-trade agreement with the EU.

“I think there is no sane person in Europe who doubts that there is no alternative but to improve relations between Russia and the European Union,” Lavrov said at a meeting of AEB, the Association of European Businesses in Russia, Interfax reported Tuesday.

He said Russia is ready to discuss the possibilities of a free trade agreement with EU, adding that Moscow and Brussels need to improve relations at a time of great instability and extremism south of the borders of the two.

Lavrov said long-term goals should be set in the relationship, and Moscow's vision is the step by step construction of a common economic and humanitarian space reaching from Lisbon to Vladivostok.

Russia has placed a long-long ban on agricultural products from the EU, in response to ever-ratcheting sanctions targeted against individuals and companies that are involved in the Russian annexation of Crimea and the ongoing fighting in Ukraine.