As European Union leaders prepare to review the bloc’s strategy on Russia this month, some of the most senior officials in Brussels are privately advocating a shift to a less combative approach, as Bloomberg reports.
It is noted that such position could lead to disagreements with some EU member states which maintain sanctions over the 2014 Crimea reunification with Russia and the situation in eastern Ukraine.
According to the media outlet, the Monday dinner was attended by EU Ambassador to Russia Markus Ederer and other senior officials, who reportedly proposed to develop a new plan on Russia, claiming that Europe’s stance on Moscow was outdated and too focused on the Ukrainian conflict.
Borrell’s spokesperson, Nabila Massrali, declined to comment on the matter, saying the EU foreign ministers agree on the “continued relevance of implementing the five guiding principles, as well as the broader approach of pushing back, constraining and engaging with Russia where needed.”
The principles mentioned by Massrali, as cited in the report, include the full implementation of the ceasefire agreements in eastern Ukraine, promoting close ties with Russia’s ex-Soviet neighbors, fortifying against the so-called Russian threats and engaging selectively on issues such as counterterrorism.
Earlier, the EU Council decided to extend the sanctions targeting those responsible "for undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine" for a further six months, the council's press service reports.
"The existing restrictive measures provide for travel restrictions, the freezing of assets, and a ban on making funds or other economic resources available to the listed persons and entities. Sanctions will continue to apply to 177 individuals and 48 entities," the message reads.