ERR in Moscow: Ukraine crisis now secondary, Russia believes

Pro-Russian soldier in eastern Ukraine (AP/Scanpix)
11/24/2015 2:00 PM
Category: International

According to Moscow, the question of the Ukraine crisis is now in the background after a string of terror attacks and Russia's involvement in Syria.

Shortly before the Paris attack, deputy Russian foreign minister Aleksey Meshkov described Russian-EU relations as very frosty, ETV reported.

“One cannot talk of any positive progress. But many European nations continue bilateral relations, and our partners tell us that the course taken on Russia was not the correct one,” Meshkov said.

Head of the Russian parliament's committee on foreign affairs, Aleksey Pushkov, returned with a very different message after a meeting at the European Parliament following the Paris terrorist attacks.

“The Ukraine crisis will still be on the agenda, and although it was the priority topic just a short while ago, then currently there is something else, and with time it will become the third-fourth topic,” Pushkov said.

Vygaudas Ušackas, the head of EU's delegation to Russia, said EU sanctions against Russia are likely to be extended in December, adding that this bilateral war between the two is currently in no ones interests.

“No one feels comfortable about it because, if you look historically, by and large we are very interdependent. Russia is part of Europe, is part of the European civilization. People in Russia believe they are part of the European destination. And the current conflict is something everyone wants to overcome quick. Indeed, we have seen certain progress in Russia, not yet an end result, but we have moved towards a greater political process from the military conflict in eastern Ukraine. The Minsk agreements have been signed, progress has been made in terms of implementation with cease fires and withdrawal of weaponry. It doesn't work perfectly yet, but we see certain movement,” Ušackas told ETV.

French President Francois Hollande is set to visit Moscow in a few days and relations between Europe and Russia could change.

Russia holds France to be the balance in European-Russian relations. France acted as a broker between the United States and the Soviet Union before.

“Russian and French positions are very close. French resolute declarations are closer to Russian, not US positions,” Pushkov said.

J.M. Laats

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