Martin Schulz: Russia Seeking to Divide Europe's Unity
In an unusually harsh tone, European Parliament President Martin Schulz has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of trying to boost the influence Moscow wields among certain EU member states.
The EU should oppose "categorically" to such attempts, Schulz has told Die Zeit newspaper.
"We should use all means to oppose Putin's attempts at splitting the EU and to exert influence within the community," he is quoted as saying.
Schulz has described the EU's policy of sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis as "a significant foreign-policy success."
But he also warns that among "part of the Europeans Russia's propaganda has turned out successful", citing the French National Front of Marine Le Pen and "some Prime Ministers who more or less are striving after the benevolence of Putin." He says Le Pen's party receives money from Russian banks, though he doesn't specify.
In the EU politician's words, the first step to winding down the Ukrainian conflict is turning it into a "European, and not Russia-US issue," a move he believes would "help Putin save his dignity" by realizing he has to solve an "internal European problem".
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