Russian diplomacy has always been pro-active, especially in the West. Boogeyman stories on TV about "rotting and dissolved Gayrope" filled with refugees from the Middle East are targeting the Russian audience so that they don't forget to love Russia and its leader. But at the same time, the Kremlin keeps working on this market so important for its hydrocarbon exports, continuously and comprehensively, without worrying too much about refugees and LGBT. On the one hand, fans of Salisbury spires are sent to the EU, and on the other hand, for the fourth year, the Russian Federation is attempting to find its “Trojan horse” in Europe and impose a moratorium on the extension of sanctions.
Russia's gravity due to its size and abundance of minerals cannot but attract Europeans. More and more often, representatives of EU member states almost beg the Kremlin to do at least something in the direction of de-occupation of Donbas in order to have a formal reason to say: Russia went for a compromise, so the sanctions can be phased out
To say that the sanctions regime greatly hinders the development of Russia-EU relations would be a great exaggeration. In recent years, foreign trade with the major and average European economies has been growing tremendously and has been supported by multibillion-dollar deals. However, Moscow doesn’t like the fact of “sanctions”, which means the status of a toxic partner. The representative of each European capital, setting off to Moscow to get some gas, is aware of the fact that they are dealing with a country that in the 21st century unleashed Europe's bloodiest war, and that their country could find itself in Ukraine's place if it were less lucky with its neighbor. It is not surprising that the head of the PACE is booed in the session hall while seeking that the Russian delegation gain preferences to preserve the “dialogue.”
Russia's gravity due to its size and abundance of minerals cannot but attract Europeans. More and more often, representatives of EU member states almost beg the Kremlin to do at least something in the direction of de-occupation of Donbas in order to have a formal reason to say: Russia went for a compromise, so the sanctions can be phased out. Such statements were earlier voiced by a former German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, and they are also heard today, although they are not always voiced publicly. Europe is changing, and the number of euroskeptics is growing. This is a general trend, so it can not be ignored.
So far, Hungary has gone the furthest; it has almost made the bureaucrats in Brussels and the European Union as a whole the enemies of the people, while in fact opening up another front against Ukraine. The rhetoric of Budapest and Moscow in relation to Kyiv is virtually identical. The Hungarian foreign minister even begins to complain that he meets with Lavrov almost more often than with his own wife (well, I guess it's a matter of taste). And all this they claim is for the sake of the protection of national minorities in Ukraine from “Ukrainianization.”
Lavrov explains to Europeans that it's not the Kremlin which Ukraine should negotiate with on Donbas, but with Kremlin appointees in the occupied territories, whom Moscow so violently reshuffles from time to time, appointing new “popular” chief gangsters
The mentioned substitute for the Hungarian foreign minister's wife, Sergei Lavrov, at each conference held with his European counteparts sticks to his favorite mantra: the Russian army held the most honest “referendum” in Crimea, while Europe itself is to blame for the Russian invasion of Donbas as Brussels dared to expand Russia sanctions. After all, it was following this that the “putschists who seized power in Kyiv” - whom even Vladimir Putin acknowledges - “felt their impunity.”
According to Lavrov, all new sanctions related to Donbas, where the valiant 53rd anti-aircraft missile brigade of the Russian Armed Forces shot down the civilian MH17, were introduced by united Europe "by inertia."
Lavrov explains to Europeans that it's not the Kremlin which Ukraine should negotiate with on Donbas, but with Kremlin appointees in the occupied territories, whom Moscow so violently reshuffles from time to time, appointing new “popular” chief gangsters.
The Russian foreign minister complains that it is the president of Ukraine who personally “continues to sabotage” the Minsk ageements, while an unhappy and peace-loving Russia is paying the price. For many years, Russians have been trying to convince the world that there are already quite a few governments in the EU that "understand the abnormal and unhealthy nature of the current situation." Among them is the new government of Italy, Lavrov believes, which is full of adepts of the “Russian world.”
“I am confident that the fundamental interests of European nations will prevail. There are quite a few business evaluations about the damage the current situation might cause,” Lavrov whimsically whines.
But the meaning of all these tirades is one: don't stand on Russia's way of killing Ukrainians, as long as you can make money on oil and gas sales. Moreover, Russia claims it is forced to cooperate with the EU in the fight against world terrorism (although one of the parties is in fact the sponsor of this terrorism).
But Moscow is proposing to turn a blind eye, all for the "vital interests" of Europe and for the sake of Russian admiration of door handles and spires.