Mogherini Says EU Sanctions To Stay, Criticizes Russia Over Chechnya Reports

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The FINANCIAL — European Union foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini says that Brussels wants better ties with Russia but cannot pretend Moscow did not annex Crimea, and that sanctions will remain in place.

Mogherini, on her first official visit to Moscow in her current role, was speaking at a joint press conference after talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on April 24, according to RFE/RL.

She also criticized Moscow over evidence of violence and abuse against gay men in the Chechnya region, saying it is the Russian government’s responsibility to protect the rights of all its citizens.

Mogherini said there was no point in pretending that real problems in relations between Russia and the EU do not persist.

The EU, United States, and other countries imposed sanctions on Russia after it seized control of the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

The West has also imposed sanctions over Russia’s support for separatists fighting government forces in eastern Ukraine in war that has killed more than 9,900 people since April 2014.

Mogherini and Lavrov also differed over what Western countries say was a deadly sarin-gas attack on April 4 by the Syrian government, which has Russia’s strong support.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, and Interfax

 

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