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    EU Envoy to Russia Hopes Relations With Moscow Will Normalize in 2015

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    The head of the European Union's delegation in Russia is hoping that Moscow and Brussels will regulate bilateral relations in 2015.

    MOSCOW, January 22 (Sputnik) — The head of the European Union's delegation in Russia, Vygaudas Usackas, expressed hope on Thursday that Moscow and Brussels will normalize bilateral relations in 2015.

    "I would like to express hope and my interest that the 2014, the year that <…> undermined the security of the entire continent, will be succeeded by a year of positive changes and normalization of the relations of such mutual sides as the European Union and Russia," Usackas said at a press conference.

    The diplomat also said that the possibility of a Russia–EU summit will only be considered after the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis.

    "To hold a full-fledged summit between the EU and Russia, to restore our relations, we must exit the circle of problems in Ukraine. Stabilization [of the situation in Ukraine] will help us return to normal relations, needed for the summit," he said.

    Moscow's relations with the European Union deteriorated significantly in 2014 following Crimea's reunification with Russia and the Ukrainian crisis.

    The West, including a number of EU countries, accused Moscow of participating in the military conflict in the southeast of Ukraine and imposed several rounds of economic sanctions targeting Russia's banking, energy and defense sectors, as well as some high-ranking individuals.

    In August 2014, Moscow responded to the sanctions by implementing a one-year ban on certain food imports from the countries that imposed them.

    Moscow has repeatedly stated it does not intend to pursue a path of confrontation with the West and is ready to restore relations on the basis of mutual respect and equal rights.

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