Kremlin hopes Ukraine, Moldova’s candidacy status not to damage EU-Russia ties further


Moscow hopes “already damaged” ties between Russia and the European Union will not deteriorate further with EU candidate status granted to Ukraine and Moldova, the Kremlin spokesman said on Friday.

“It is important (that these processes) do not lead to further deterioration of our relations with the EU, because it is very difficult to damage them further, (as) they are already pretty damaged,” Dmitry Peskov said during a press briefing in Moscow.

European leaders on Thursday granted candidate status to Ukraine, a historic move that paves the way for the war-ravaged country’s EU membership.

The EU leaders also approved Moldova’s candidate status in the Brussels meeting and announced that Georgia is next in line once it meets certain conditions.

Peskov said Ukraine’s position about Russia is understandable, but not Moldova’s, which seems to believe that the demonstrating anti-Russian sentiments increase its chances of becoming an EU member.

“In many ways, for some reason, (Moldova) associates this candidate status with ‘anti-Russianism.’ The more it becomes anti-Russian, it seems to them, the more Europeans like them,” he said, adding, “We would really hate for this to happen.”

The candidate status could remain for decades, he believed, recalling that 20 years ago he worked as a diplomat in Türkiye, and at that time the country had already had that status for some years.

However, he said, “We see that Türkiye has not moved further than this candidacy,” while also becoming a sovereign independent country.

When asked about Lithuania’s ban on the transit of a large number of Russian goods to the semi-exclave Kaliningrad region, Peskov said there is no need to rush, but Moscow has a “determined mindset” about the situation.

The Russian authorities are now seriously analyzing what is happening and communicating their position to colleagues from other countries through the Foreign Ministry.

He added that “opponents” require time to understand that something needs to be done in order to settle this situation and that he does not exclude that the restrictive measures will be lifted.

Located on the Baltic Sea, Kaliningrad is sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania and is separated overland from the main part of Russia by Lithuania, Latvia and Belarus. Most railway transit between Russia and Kaliningrad was carried out through Belarus and Lithuania.

On June 18, Kaliningrad Governor Anton Alikhanov announced that the Lithuanian railways had notified the region’s authorities of imposing restrictions on the transit of goods that are subject to EU sanctions from Russia to Kaliningrad.

According to Alikhanov, “everything under sanctions” is prohibited to be shipped via the territory of Lithuania.

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