Borrell: Europe and Russia are drifting apart

Ukrainian News
Canan Kevser
08 February 2021, 13:10
Canan Kevser
08 February 2021, 13:10

Russia is progressively disconnecting itself from Europe, says EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell.

Borrell wrote in a blog that his recent visit to Moscow was an act of principled diplomacy, aimed to test whether the Russian government was interested in addressing differences and reversing the negative trend in relations with the Bloc.

The official said his meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov highlighted that "Europe and Russia are drifting apart."

"The reaction I received points visibly in a different direction. So, as EU we will have to reflect on the broader implications and chart a way forward. We are at a crossroads. The main parameters of the geopolitical landscape of the 21st century are being drawn," he said.

According to him, EU-Russia relations have been low for a number of years, and deteriorated even further after recent developments linked to the poisoning, arrest, and sentencing of Alexei Navalny as well as the related mass arrests of thousands of demonstrators.

"An aggressively-staged press conference and the expulsion of three EU diplomats during my visit indicate that the Russian authorities did not want to seize this opportunity to have a more constructive dialogue with the EU," Borrell wrote.

He expressed that the EU will have to draw the consequences, reflect carefully on the direction it wants to give to relations with Russia and proceed in a united manner with determination.

Background

Russia said that it had expelled diplomats from Germany, Poland and Sweden amid claims they took part in pro-Alexei Navalny protests.

Russian opposition leader Navalny was jailed on his return to Russia after recovering from an attempt to kill him with a nerve agent. He blames the Russian security services for the attack but the Kremlin denies this.

He has denounced his detention as "blatantly illegal", saying the authorities had allowed him to travel to Berlin for treatment for the Novichok poisoning, which happened in Russia last August.

Tens of thousands took to the streets across Russia to protest. During the demonstrations called -unauthorised" by Russia, some 11,000 people were detained by security forces over the previous two weekends.