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EU summit unlikely to make decisions on ties with Russia — diplomat

October 19, 2016, 16:20 UTC+3 BRUSSELS

A Russian diplomat says Russia-EU relations became hostages of foreign crises

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© AP Photo/Francisco Seco

BRUSSELS, October 19. /TASS/. The EU summit due October 20-21 should not be expected to produce any practical decisions, including sanctions, resulting from its strategic review of relations with Russia, Russia’s EU ambassador Vladimir Chizhov told TASS in an interview ahead of the meeting of the EU heads of state and government.

"The EU summit will not make any concrete decisions. It’s a different format. All relations are formalized by the EU Council at the ministerial level. The very format of strategic review does not imply practical decisions," he said.

"I surmise there may be no discussion of sanctions yet. There is still sometime left before the end of January and the situation remains rather volatile," Chizhov said adding that the EU sanctions were not legitimate, because only the UN Security Council had the power to take restrictive measures.

Since the beginning of the year there has been growing sentiment in favor of easing the sanctions, Chizhov said, but at the same time he had warned the trend would persist only if nothing dramatic, like the MH17 affair intervened.

"It is most important no such incidents happen on the eve of the day decision will be made. Planes keep flying, but the humanitarian convoy (near Aleppo - TASS) was attacked by unidentified perpetrators with yet-to-be established weapons. Possibly, this indicates how resourceful our potential opponents are," he remarked.

Chizhov said the EU lacked a comprehensive stance over what its relations with Russia should be. As a result, "Russia-EU relations today become hostages of foreign crises, not only Ukrainian, but Syrian as well."

The decision in favor of the strategic review of relations with Russia is in indirect confirmation there is no clear position towards Russia. Whether the review will help formulate such a position remains to be seen.

"If they will succeed or not is anyone’s guess," Chizhov said.

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