In a decision which could anger some in Brussels, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has decided to attend an economic forum in St.Petersburg next month. On Monday, Vladimir Putin’s spokesman welcomed Juncker’s ‘preparedness for dialogue’ and argued individual European countries continue to try and re-establish ties with Moscow, soured over events in Ukraine.
“Regardless of the common decision being made in Brussels, we see that many European countries on the bilateral level are still demonstrating their interest in improving relations and expanding cooperation with Russia in order to compensate for what was lost over the last two years”, Dmitry Peskov told journalists on May 30.
Junker would be the first European government leader to visit Russia since March 2014, when the Kremlin seized and annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula.
The European Commission chief has faced criticism from some E.U. officials who take a hard line upholding economic sanctions. Speaking to POLITICO magazine, Lithuania’s foreign minister said, ‘the Kremlin uses meetings to create the impression of business as usual, and usually reports this impression to their own public.”
With reporting from Reuters