Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde believes that Russia allegedly “challenges” the interests of the European Union (EU). She outlined this position in response to the request of the Swedish MP Markus Wichel, who was previously interested in relations between Moscow and Stockholm, writes on August 31 RT.
Linde noted that relations between Sweden and the European Union with Russia will remain difficult as long as the Russian Federation “acts to challenge our interests and values.”
At the same time, the head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry is convinced that in order to solve “problems” and search for “opportunities” in relations between Stockholm and Brussels with Moscow, the European side needs a “long-term and principled approach” in contacts with both Russian officials and representatives of civil society and political opposition.
On August 25, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the state of relations between Russia and the EU deplorable. At the same time, he stressed that the Russian side is ready to develop a dialogue both with the European Union and with its members “exclusively in an equal and mutually respectful manner.”
On the same day, Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg noted that Russia is and will be a part of European reality. According to him, relations between the EU and the Russian Federation have reached a “low point”. At the same time, Vienna intends to continue to maintain a dialogue with Moscow.
Earlier, on July 25, the head of the European Council Charles Michel said that the leaders of the EU countries again decided to extend the economic sanctions against the Russian Federation, in force since 2014. In turn, the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, indicated in her commentary that Moscow would respond proportionately to any unilateral EU sanctions.
Relations between Moscow and the West have deteriorated due to the situation in Ukraine and around Crimea, which in 2014 joined Russia following a referendum held on the peninsula. Western countries, accusing the country of interference, imposed sanctions on it, Moscow retaliated, embarked on a course of import substitution, and has repeatedly stated that speaking in the language of sanctions is counterproductive.