Russian Envoy to EU: Don't Test Putin's Patience!
Russia‘s ambassador to the European Union has strongly warned the bloc two weeks before an EU-Russia summit.
"About Putin‘s patience, I don‘t invite anybody to test it," Vladimir Chizhov said at a briefing in Brussels hosted by the European Policy Centre.
The comment came in response to a question regarding how much tolerance the Russian president had for EU criticism ahead of the Sochi Olympics, which are set to begin on February 6.
DPA reminds that Russia and the EU have come head-to-head in recent months on issues ranging from the conflict in Syria to energy and trade issues. Most recently, the two parties sparred over their respective alliance with Ukraine.
Chizhov acknowledged that there is a "lack of trust" between Brussels and Moscow that is feeding "misperceptions" dating back centuries.
"It‘s our common duty to try to break this vicious circle," he said, as cited by DPA.
He argued that Russia‘s project for a Customs Union of former Soviet states - which the EU deems incompatible with its regional political and free trade agreements - was "neither the EU‘s geopolitical rival, nor a Soviet Union 2.0."
Moscow also plans to work towards a Eurasian Economic Union - involving many of the same countries - whose treaties should be signed and ratified this year, so that it can enter into force on January 1, 2015, Chizhov said.
He called for the EU and Russia to "look for ways to harmonize the European and Eurasian integration processes." He also suggested that progress at the summit on visa-free access to the EU for Russians "would be welcome."
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