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EU-Russia: A Cold War brewing?

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EU-Russia: A Cold War brewing?

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With NATO now following EU members and America in expelling Russian diplomats in response to the Salisbury attack, it seems pressure is mounting on Moscow.

But one expert told Euronews that Russia seems to have a clear goal in mind.

“What appears to be Kremlin’s policy is a policy aimed at dividing the West, undermining the West, undermining its credibility, its values. That’s what we are seeing. I don’t think the goal is destroying the west but is undermining it and boosting Russia’s global role as a consequence,” said Rosa Balfour, from The German Marshall Fund of the United States.

Russia denies any involvement in the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter. It says the West’s action is a “provocative gesture” and has said it will respond.

But, while the coordinated action against it is a coup for Britain, not all countries are convinced – including Greece.

“We can say there is lack of solidarity probably due to lack of clear evidence but also because of different levels of dependency for some member states in contrast to others,” said Constantinos Filis, a Greek analyst.

“Also not all members agree with Brussels disengagement with Moscow and the repercussions this might have.”

Britain says those showing support are doing not just out of solidarity, but because they recognise the threat Russia poses.

Balfour commented: “The fact that Germany, Italy, France the major European countries which do have close business ties and energetic dependence with Russia have expelled the Russian diplomats is a clear signal of the direction the EU is going to go in. If a few smaller countries want to keep the door open for possible talks it might not be quite so harmful.”

Euronews also spoke to Russia’s Ambassador to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov.

Euronews: “So, are you already packing your stuff to go back to Moscow after all?”

Vladimir Chizhov, Russia’s Ambassador to the EU: “Should I? “

Euronews: “I’m asking you…”

Chizhov: “Well, I don’t think there is any practical reason to do that. I’ve been working for a number of years already here in Brussels, to promote Russia-EU cooperation in various fields and until I am recalled by my president, I intend to continue.”

Euronews: “So what are the measures we should now expect from Moscow after all these expulsions?”

Chizhov: “Well, we should expect adequate response along national lines, bilateral lines of course, because those expulsions were undertaken on a national level, as Donald Tusk – the president of the European Council – pointed out at the end of the European Council last Friday.”

Euronews: “Yes, but how do you feel about some member states that are considered to be some of your closest allies in the EU, such as Hungary or Italy, did the same and expelled Russian diplomats.”

Chizhov: “I am deeply disappointed that a number of countries, in fact about half of EU member states, have chosen out of how should I say falsely perceived solidarity to follow the lead of the United Kingdom a move that was not based on any practical evidence but that was rather based on assumptions and suspicions.”

Euronews: “But now you see there are many member states of the EU, but also the United States, and it is impressive how they show this coordinated action against Russia. Do you think that all of this environment creates a Cold War type conflict between the West and Russia again?”

Chizhov: “Well I don’t see any objective reason for a conflict between Russia and the West as you mention. The West itself is actually divided. When the British prime minister Theresa May boasted that the level of unity and solidarity has proven that Russia efforts to divide the European Union were in vain actually she did the most to divide the European Union with this action because half the member states joined the UK and the other half didn’t.”