Relations with Russia deteriorated even after Navalny was arrested.
June 8, 2021 at 6:57 AM TASR
BRUSSELS. The current state of relations between the European Union and Russia and their further deterioration are not in the interests of either party. This was stated on Monday by the President of the European Council Charles Michel during a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In this context, the Belga news agency recalled that the telephone conversation took place less than a month after the extraordinary EU summit in May, at which 27 heads of government and states condemned Russia’s “illegal, provocative and destabilizing” activities.
Political relations between the Union and Russia will also be debated by the prime ministers and presidents of the member states during the forthcoming EU summit in June (June 24-25).
Relations with Russia, which deteriorated following the arrest and imprisonment of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny, were also marked by a recent statement on Russia’s rapprochement with Belarus following the diversion of a civilian plane on the Athens-Vilnius route and the arrest of Belarusian opposition journalist Raman Pratasevich at Minsk airport.
“The current situation and its deterioration are not in the interests of either party,” Michel told Putin during an interview. According to European Council sources, their telephone conversation also concerned the situation in Belarus, with Michel suggesting that Moscow could put more pressure on Belarus to calm the situation in that country. “Russia can play an important role in supporting a peaceful solution to the crisis,” Michel told the Russian president.
After last year’s rigged presidential election, Belarus faced a series of civic demonstrations, culminating in repression and escalating pressure from the Belarusian regime on representatives of independent media, civil society organizations and the opposition, which called for a series of sanctions against Belarus.