FILE PHOTO: European Council President Charles Michel arrives for a video conference meeting with Austria's Chancellor and Croatian, Bulgarian, Latvian and Slovenian Prime Ministers at the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium March 17, 2021. John Thys/Pool via REUTERS
March 22, 2021
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Relations between the European Union and Russia are at a low point, with disagreement in many areas, European Council President Charles Michel told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday.
Michel, who chairs EU summits, spoke with Putin ahead of a video conference of EU leaders on Thursday-Friday set to discuss EU-Russia relations and after the EU imposed sanctions on Russians over rights abuses in Chechnya.
“President Michel expressed the view that EU-Russia ties are at a low point and confirmed the EU’s approach of the five guiding principles, based on the EU’s core values,” the Council said in a statement. “There is currently disagreement in many areas.”
Disagreements included the situation in Ukraine, human rights, hybrid and cyber-attacks on EU countries and the assassination attempt on and jailing of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.
(Reporting by Marine Strauss and Philip Blenkinsop)