EU leaders reject Germany and France's proposal to resume summit meetings with Putin

  • 2021-06-26
  • LETA/AFP/TBT Staff

MOSCOW - European Union leaders have rejected a proposal by Germany and France to resume summit meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, as EU leaders said on Friday.

EU leaders said Friday they had rejected the proposal from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron which came after US President Joe Biden's meeting with Putin last week aimed at reducing tensions.

The 27-nation bloc's decision followed fierce resistance from member states - especially in Eastern Europe - worried about Moscow's aggressions.

The last summit between EU chiefs and Putin took place in early 2014 just months before Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine.

Kiev also opposed the idea of resuming summits, with foreign minister Dmitry Kuleba saying Friday that Ukraine wanted to hear an explanation from Paris and Berlin over their initiative.

Moscow has been at loggerheads with a number of Western capitals after a recent Russian troop build-up on Ukraine's borders and a series of espionage scandals that have resulted in diplomatic expulsions.

EU leaders said that they were "open to a selective engagement" with Moscow in areas aligned with the bloc's interests, such as climate change, health, the Iran nuclear deal and conflicts in Syria and Libya.

The Kremlin on Friday said it "regretted" the EU leaders' decision. "President Putin was and remains interested in establishing working relations between Moscow and Brussels," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Peskov said Poland and the Baltics "often speak groundlessly" about a threat from Russia.