WARSAW (Reuters) – Poland wants to make sure a new European Commission stays tough on Russia and is concerned that some European Union countries are growing increasingly friendly towards its eastern neighbour, even as the Kremlin cracks down on dissent.
“It seems that some European leaders are unaware that their activities are read as an attempt to warm up relations, and if they are, their politics are misguided,” Poland’s Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz told Reuters in an interview.
His comments come as Russia detained over 1,000 people over the weekend during protests demanding free elections. The European Union and Poland have condemned police brutality in the protests.
Warming relations with Russia could signal to the Kremlin that Europe will let it get away with escalations, such as the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, over time, setting a dangerous precedent, said Przydacz.
“There is no reason to invite Russian leaders to different parties or dances together…measures were put in place to encourage Russia to move away from its aggressive politics to the east of Europe…and it hasn’t even taken half a step back.”
Last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin danced arm-in-arm with Austria’s foreign minister at the time Karin Kneissl at her wedding, sparking condemnation by opposition critics that said it undermined the West’s stance against Russia.
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