"The EU Council again focused on the fact that respect for international law, including the principles of independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, the UN Maritime Convention, including freedom of navigation, as well as EU political decisions on non-recognition of the annexation of Crimea, are fundamental to the EU’s approach to regional cooperation in the Black Sea region," the document says.
The Council of Europe reaffirmed its commitment to promoting prosperity and stability in the Black Sea region. In particular, the EU stresses the importance of using new opportunities for economic development, sustainability, and communication in the region and beyond.
"The hopes for comprehensive partnership with Russia, the one with the increasing degree of integration have not been justified," the politician marked.
Both sides currently experience "deep disappointment," as he put it.
The ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine and annexation of Ukraine's Crimea in 2014 complicate the EU-Russia relations, and it is impossible to interact with future Russia in the "usual mode," Steinmeier said.
In 2017, Steinmeier confirmed that there were tensions in the Russian-German relations; the reason, according to him, was the Russian aggression in Donbas and the occupation of the Crimean peninsula.