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Russia summons Spanish ambassador over 'old enemy' comment

Russia summons Spanish ambassador over 'old enemy' comment
FILE PHOTO: Spain's Foreign Minister Josep Borrell talks during an interview commenting on the possible Brexit extension, in Madrid, Spain March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Javier Barbancho   -   Copyright  Javier Barbancho(Reuters)
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MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia summoned Spain’s ambassador to Moscow on Tuesday after acting Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell referred to the country as an “old enemy”, the Russian foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

Borrell told Spanish newspaper El Periodico last week: “Russia, our old enemy, is once again saying, ‘here I am,’ and has returned as a threat, and China is also presenting itself as a rival.”

The ministry said Borrell’s comment “damages the relations between Spain and Russia, the mutual perception of bilateral relations as friendly, based on a partnership and mutually-beneficial.”

Spain’s Foreign Ministry had no immediate comment.

Russia’s relations with the West soured following the 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, leading to a string of economic sanctions against Russian companies, banks and business people.

(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber in Moscow, Andrey Khalip in Lisbon and Joan Faus in Madrid; Editing by Frances Kerry)

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