MOSCOW, May 20. /TASS/. The European Union is gradually realizing a need to restore trade relations with Russia, returning to the situation before the crisis in Ukraine, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told parliamentarians on Wednesday.
He said the fact that the European Union was still challenging the legitimate and sincere choice of Crimean people did not mean they should "lock themselves up in their little world and reject contacts with the surrounding world."
"Our partners in Brussels, who first reacted with unilateral sanctions and menacing statements to our refusal to support a coup in Kiev and to our support for the Crimean people, are gradually becoming aware of this," he said.
"They are realizing that all this must be left in the past and we must return to that very point where we tried to start, namely talks in a three-party format of Russia-Ukraine-EU, and EU-EEU (Eurasian Economic Union) in broader terms," he said.
A three-way ministerial meeting discussing Ukraine’s implementation of the association agreement with the EU was held in Brussels one of these days, he said.
Lavrov said talks had involved Russian Minister for Economic Development Alexey Ulyukayev, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin and EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom.
"They discussed problems Russia has absolutely reasonably received in connection with commitments for Ukraine proceeding from its agreement with the EU, discussing it in a businesslike manner," he said.
"They agreed to concretely work on precise things, concerning customs and phytosanitary aspects as well as technical regulation," he added.
"As the phrase goes - better late than never. But if the European Commission had approved such an approach back in November or October 2013, maybe we would not have seen ‘Maidan’ developments," Lavrov added.