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Russia still wary as EU turns to the East

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Russia still wary as EU turns to the East

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Bringing mixed messages from Moscow, Russia’s Foreign Minister has held talks with the European Union.

On the one hand, Sergei Lavrov showed readiness to put recent tensions to one side, urging closer cooperation with the bloc on security. But he also reiterated concerns over EU plans to strengthen ties with six former Soviet republics. “We would very much like to believe what has been said about the Eastern partnership,” Lavrov told reporters in Luxembourg. “But I have to say, some of the comments we have heard about this initiative from the European Union do worry us.” The Kremlin has been reassured that the EU’s Eastern Partnership Programme is not directed against Russia. It is intended to develop the bloc’s relations with Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Belarus, Armenia and Azerbaijan. The region, however, is considered by Moscow as part of its traditional sphere of influence.