MOSCOW, March 18. /TASS/. Many in the European Union are disappointed with the fact that the talks on visa-free travel with Russia have failed, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told the International Affairs magazine.
"We are essentially ready to go as far in regards to the visa liberalization issue and easing visa requirements as the European Union is. One of the European Union’s strategic mistakes was that at some point they were afraid that visa-free travel would be introduced in Russia," Grushko said.
"I know that now many in Europe find that regrettable, because it would have been a real breakthrough, which would have improved the quality of relations between Russia and the EU," he added.
Grushko noted that Russia is working on some projects, which would make it possible to ease visa requirements while visiting some Russian regions. "Of course, if the European Union said it was ready to resume work on introducing visa-free travel, I believe the answer would be positive," the diplomat said.
Russia and the EU announced plans to introduce visa-free travel at a summit in May 2005. In 2006, an agreement on easing visa requirements was signed. In 2007, the parties launched dialogue on visa-free travel. The negotiations were suspended by the EU on March 6, 2014, as part of the first round of restrictive measures imposed over the Ukrainian crisis.