"From the point of view of the political perspective and historical experience, some are more in favor of dialogue, while others advocate distancing themselves from Russia. But I think it is important that we develop a culture of common concerted actions in terms of eastern politics. Because the European Union needs good-neighborly and trusting relations with Russia in the long term, which is in interests of its own security," Maas said, as quoted by the press service of the German Foreign Ministry.
Relations between Russia and the West deteriorated after 2014, when the Ukrainian crisis erupted and Crimea decided to rejoin Russia after holding a referendum. Moscow has insisted that Crimea’s referendum was held in line with international standards, but Western states refused to recognize the vote.
The situation prompted the European Union and the United States to impose anti-Russian sanctions, which were followed by retaliatory measures from Moscow.