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WASHINGTON, January 21. /TASS/. The European Union intends to leave open the possibility of dialogue with Russia on Ukraine and on global issues, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said on Tuesday. Also, the implementation of the Minsk agreements remains a key issue for Europe, she told an audience at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.
According to her, the EU will continue to support Kiev, including financially. Brussels wants to be sure that the situation in Ukraine’s economy and society returns to normal, Mogerini said, adding that the EU regards this step as a response to “Russia’s actions.”
The EU would continue to put pressure on Russia, the diplomat continued. However, the EU intends to leave the door open for dialogue and search for solutions to Ukraine’s crisis and to counter global challenges, Mogherini said, naming the challenges — the Middle East, the Iranian nuclear issue, terrorism and climate change. The EU policy of non-recognition of Crimea (its reunification with Russia) remains in force, said Mogherini. According to her, the mechanism of anti-Russian sanctions is a flexible tool that can be used depending on the situation.
In the future, the EU will introduce changes to the sanctions regime based on the implementation of the Minsk agreements and real improvement of the situation" in the south-east of Ukraine, Mogherini said. She called for using all the existing options for dialogue between the conflicting parties.
Russia — is a neighbour of Europe and Ukraine, and this cannot be changed, the European diplomacy chief said. Mogherini said, answering a TASS question that talks on the establishment of trade relations between the EU and Russia are conducted, but this is a complex issue that affects Kiev, the states of Eastern Europe and the World Trade Organization (WTO). The work on this should be continued, she added.
On January 19, a meeting of foreign ministers of 28 EU countries was held in Brussels. Federica Mogherini said on the meeting results that it was premature to speak of normalization of relations between the EU and Russia, but Brussels was interested in developing a political dialogue with Russia on key issues of international relations. She added that Brussels was not going to change its policy towards Moscow yet.
According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the European Union is still unprepared for reconsidering its unfriendly policy towards Russia or for making an impartial evaluation of actions by the Kiev authorities, which have resumed massive artillery bombardments.
“The discussion of Russia-EU relations at the EU Foreign Affairs Council on January 19 merely confirmed that the European Union remained unprepared for adjusting its unfriendly policy or making an impartial evaluation of actions by the Kiev authorities, which in violation of the achieved agreements have resumed combat operations along the disengagement line in the south-east of Ukraine and started massive artillery bombardments of communities in that part of the country,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.