Top EU job decisions ‘bad’ for ties with Russia, Kremlin says

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EU leaders have nominated Ursula von der Leyen to remain as European Commission president and chosen Kaja Kallas as the next EU foreign policy chief.

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Chances of EU-Russia relations improving are “bad” after the union’s top job appointments the night before, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary said on Friday

Dmitry Peskov specifically name-checked Ursula von der Leyen, who was nominated for another term as president of the European Commission, and Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, chosen as the next EU foreign policy chief. 

“Mrs von der Leyen is not a supporter of normalising relations between the EU and Russia,” he said. “This is how we know her, this is how we remember her.” 

It is unclear whether Peskov’s comments were related to any specific attempts at normalisation between the two. The relations between Brussels and Moscow have been ice-cold since Russia’s act of aggression against Ukraine, now in its third year.

Turning to the Estonian PM, Peskov added that Kallas “has not demonstrated diplomatic inclinations until now and is well known among us for her irreconcilable and sometimes even rabidly Russophobic statements.”

Kallas has been one of the Kremlin’s most outspoken critics within the EU.

Since Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, she has been a driving force within the EU to punish Russia with sanctions, send military support to Kyiv and bolster the bloc’s own defence capabilities.

Her response to Russian aggression earned her the status of a wanted person in Russia after her efforts to remove Soviet-era World War II monuments in her Baltic nation, which the Kremlin described as “hostile action toward historic memory”.



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