Siberia is the setting for the European Union’s first summit with new Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
A symbol of Russia’s oil wealth, the town of Khanty-Mansiisk is where talks are being launched on a new co-operation pact between Moscow and the 27-nation bloc.
But getting this far has been no walk in the park, with opposition from Poland and Lithuania holding up proceedings. And Vladimir Putin’s hand-picked successor acknowledges that complications can arise when dealing with the EU.
“There are sometimes problems in our relationship when we understand that some EU governments are ready to develop the relationship by taking certain steps,” said Medvedev in an interview this week, “but, at the same time, one or a few governments are able to block these steps.”
Medvedev is a former chairman of the world’s largest gas producer, Gazprom, and energy co-operation is set to be a key talking point at the two-day summit.