The head of the Munich Security Conference, German diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger said that a “new low point” had now been reached in relations between the European Union and Russia
“We are faced with the dilemma that a sustainable European security architecture can only be formed together with Russia, but at the same time many European countries need protection from Russia”, – Ischinger told the German publication Passauer Neue Presse.
“It will take time to improve relations. Coercive measures such as sanctions are necessary to change the Russian calculus. However, they must necessarily be linked to an offer of dialogue”, – he said.
Ischinger stressed, however, that for a rapprochement between Russia and the EU it is necessary that Russia shows “a willingness to de-escalate and change behaviour”, as it is Moscow that is responsible for improving relations.
Regarding a possible U.S.-Russia summit with Putin and Biden, he expressed the opinion that one should not “raise one’s expectations too high.
Nevertheless, the possibility of such a meeting “remains an important signal that, despite numerous disagreements, the link is not broken”, Ischinger stressed.
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“It is obvious that cooperation with Russia is needed on major international issues. We see this, for example on the issue of arms control, on Iran or on the conflict in Syria – without Russia we will not move forward”, – Ischinger pointed out.