Russia is seeking to maintain relations with the European Union, which is one of its largest commercial and economic partners, but might drastically revise these relations, Konstantin Kosachev, Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council (the upper house of Russia’s parliament), said on Friday, reports TASS news agency.
“I think that as long as it depends on our country, the issue of a breakup with the European Union will not be translated into practice. We are certainly interested in preserving these relations. For us, it is one of the biggest trade and economic partners, if not the biggest one. There is nothing insurmountable in our relations with the European Union,” the senator said on air of the Govorit Moskva (Moscow Speaking) radio station.
In Kosachev’s view, when speaking earlier about the possibility of severing relations with the European Union, he commented on the EU steps against Russia, “which have very closely approached the red line.”
In particular, his comment was triggered by the European Commission’s statement claiming that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to switch to ruble payments for gas ran counter to the EU sanctions.
“In other words, it was said that when making his decisions, the Russian president needs to take into consideration certain decisions of the European Union. This is the wrong way to put it. It is rude and unceremonious,” Kosachev said.
Military solution to conflict
Additionally, Kosachev recalled that during his recent visit to Kiev, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said for the first time in the history of the European Union that the Ukraine crisis had no other solution but a military one.
“We have a special military operation going on right now, that is true, but simultaneously a negotiating track is underway. Everyone knows it, including Mr. Borrell. It is sabotage of the negotiation process by the European Union,” the Federation Council deputy speaker stressed.
The lawmaker pointed out that neither Russia nor Ukraine are members of the European Union.
“Actually, it is not the first consideration for the EU. In fact, he [Borrell] is simply getting involved in this situation in a rather artificial way. But most importantly, he incites the Ukrainian authorities to persist in hostilities,” the politician believes.
“Should this continue, of course, a question may arise that we have to drastically reconsider our relations. It is no longer the European Union, but a NATO branch that implements the same harsh, aggressive and offensive policy toward our country,” Kosachev concluded.
Greece decides not sending any more military equipment to Ukraine
Greece is not going to send any more military equipment to Ukraine, Greek government spokesman Ioannis Oikonomou confirmed at a briefing on Friday. The official did not specify whether Athens had previously sent Stinger man-portable air defense systems to Kiev.
The cabinet spokesman was asked whether the government plans to send additional military equipment to Ukraine. “There is nothing new in this direction from what has been done so far. Nothing like that is being discussed,” Oikonomou said. He noted that the defense equipment Athens has previously sent to Ukraine does not weaken Greece’s own defense capabilities. When asked to clarify whether Greece had sent Stinger man-portable air defense systems to Ukraine taken from active units of the Greek army, Oikonomou said: “It is known what defense equipment was sent along with humanitarian aid to Ukraine. Nothing that has been sent weakens the needs and defense capabilities of our country.”
In late February, the Greek Ministry of National Defense reported that Greece had sent humanitarian aid and military equipment to Poland for Ukraine on C-130 military transport planes. Greek TV channel Open then reported that 20,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles, confiscated in November 2013 on a ship near the Greek island of Rhodes, in particular, had been sent to Ukraine. Nine years ago, these weapons were seized from the Nour-M ship, which had left a Ukrainian port and was bound for Libya.
Greek National Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos told Greek lawmakers on April 13 that Greece no longer plans to send military equipment to Ukraine. The minister said Greece’s defense of its own territory should not be weakened, especially on the islands, by sending new weapons to Ukraine.
Vladimir Putin on February 24, in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics, made a decision to conduct a special military operation. The DPR and LPR began an operation to liberate their territories, which were under Kiev’s control.