09:28 GMT11 August 2020
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    Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia is not the initiator of the cooling of relations with Europe and thanked Czech President Milos Zeman for attempts to restore relations.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed hope on Saturday that relations with Europe will be revived thanks to such politicians as Czech President Milos Zeman.

    "We [Russia] were not the initiators of the cooling of relations with Europe, but I hope that thanks to politicians like you, we will succeed in restoring them and will move forward," Putin said at a meeting with Zeman in Moscow.

    "It is pleasant to state that there are still politicians who are able to directly express their point of view, to carry out independent policy and defend it," the Russian president added.

    Putin said he expects that Russia will not only be able to restore relations, but also to build up cooperation with Europe.

    The Czech leader attended earlier in the day the Victory Day Parade in Moscow, commemorating the 70th anniversary of victory over the Nazi Germany in World War II.

    Russia's relations with Europe deteriorated dramatically in 2014 over Ukraine crisis. The European Union, the United States and their allies imposed several rounds of economic sanctions against Russia, citing country's alleged role in the ongoing Ukrainian armed conflict.

    Western sanctions against Moscow are set to expire in July. In March, EU leaders decided to keep the sanctions in place until a February ceasefire in Ukraine is fully implemented.

    Moscow has repeatedly denied any involvement in the Ukrainian internal conflict and expressed readiness to resume dialogue and cooperation with European partners on terms of mutual respect.


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    Vladimir Putin, Milos Zeman, Czech Republic, Russia
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