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Russia says it hopes to avoid 'point of no return'

Updated: 2014-11-19 08:13
By Agence France-Presse in Minsk, Belarus and Brussels (China Daily)

Russia said on Tuesday it hopes its ties with the EU have not yet crossed the point of no return after Brussels applied more sanctions in response to the conflict in Ukraine.

"We are hoping that the 'point of no return' has not yet been crossed," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a meeting in the Belarusian capital, Minsk.

"We are interested in the incremental development of ties," he added, speaking ahead of talks in Moscow with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier later on Tuesday.

Lavrov reiterated Moscow's call for the creation of a "common economic and humanitarian space" from Lisbon to the Russian port of Vladivostok on the Pacific, an idea that has been championed by Russian President Vladimir Putin but has met a cool reception in the EU.

Lavrov urged Kiev to respect a truce agreed to in Minsk on Sept 5 and to enter into talks with separatists to find a solution to the conflict that has killed more than 4,100 people.

"Instead of establishing strong contacts, Kiev has embarked on a course to strangle the southeast socially and economically," Lavrov said.

"I hope our Western colleagues, who exercise influence over the Kiev authorities, realize the danger of events developing in this direction."

On Monday, the EU agreed to blacklist more Ukrainian separatists, but stopped short of fresh sanctions against Russia, saying there was hope of restarting dialogue with Moscow to end the standoff.

The EU has been deeply divided on how far to go on sanctions, with more hawkish members such as Britain, Poland and the Baltic states balanced by Germany and some eastern nations that rely on Russia for trade and gas.

AFP - AP

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