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'Situation Upsets Me': Ex-German Defense Minister Seeks Better EU-Russian Ties

© Sputnik / Sergey Guneev / Go to the photo bankFrom left to right: Flags of Germany, Russia and the EU
From left to right: Flags of Germany, Russia and the EU - Sputnik International
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Franz Josef Jung, the former German defense minister, told Sputnik on the sidelines of the German-Russian Petersburg Dialogue forum on Monday, that he wished the relations between Russia and the European Union were better since he had had an opportunity in the past to enjoy the benefits of strategic cooperation with Moscow.

"I was for a long time a part of a strategic partnership with Russia, and the development of the situation upsets me… I wish we came to a different situation, to a better relationship. Then we would be in position to lift the sanctions. For that we want a kind of behavior from Russia that will allow it to be trusted so that we can move forward," the former minister stated.

Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel lay flowers at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier - Sputnik International
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He added that he believed that the Russian-EU divergences should be talked over at a higher level, including at the level of NATO ministers, to rebuild trust in order to have progress in their relationship and move toward the lifting of anti-Russian sanctions.

"This level is more significant. Ministers, unlike the embassies, can have influence, and then we would be moving forward. It has to be taken to a more centralized level," Jung stressed.

READ MORE: US Profits From Divided Eurasia and Doesn't Want Good EU-Russia Ties – Ex-MEP

Relations between Moscow and the West deteriorated in 2014 after Crimea’s reunification with Russia amid the crisis in eastern Ukraine. The European Union and the United States imposed restrictive measures against Russian individuals, companies and economic sectors. Moscow has responded by imposing restrictions on food imports from the countries that supported the sanctions.

The 17th meeting of the Petersburg Dialogue forum, aimed at promoting ties between Russia and Germany, is being held in the Russian capital on October 7-8. The meeting's major theme is titled "Building Confidence, Strengthening Partnership: Cooperation Between Civil Societies of Russia and Germany as Impetus to Interstate Dialogue."

READ MORE: How to Break a 'Stalemate': AfD Vice Chair on EU-Russia Relations

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