Russia is in favour of restoring a comprehensive partnership with Europe, Russian president announced on Tuesday.
In an article written for the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit on the occasion of Nazi German invasion of Russia, Vladimir Putin said Russia and Europe have "many topics of mutual interest".
"These include security and strategic stability, healthcare and education, digitalization, energy, culture, science and technology, resolution of climate and environmental issues," he wrote.
Putin recalled that after the end of the Cold War, Russia has sought to develop its relations with the Europeans and that "both Russia and the EU have done a lot on this path."
However, NATO's expansion eastward despite verbal promises not to do it became the reason for the beginning of mutual distrust in Europe.
"Many countries were put before the artificial choice of being either with the collective West or with Russia. In fact, it was an ultimatum," Putin wrote.
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Putin set "the Ukrainian tragedy of 2014," "actively supported" by Europe as an example of the consequences that this aggressive policy has led to.
"This unconstitutional armed coup in Ukraine was where it all started. Why was it necessary to do this? Then incumbent president Yanukovych had already accepted all the demands of the opposition. Why did the USA organize the coup and the European countries weak-heartedly support it, provoking a split within Ukraine and the withdrawal of Crimea?" Putin asked.
Currently the whole system of European security has significantly degraded, tensions are rising and the risks of a new arms race are becoming real, he added.
"We are missing out on the tremendous opportunities that cooperation offers – all the more important now that we are all facing common challenges, such as the pandemic and its dire social and economic consequences," he said.
Putin stressed that Russia is one of the largest countries in Europe with "inseparable cultural and historical connection to Europe".
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"We are open to honest and constructive interaction. This is confirmed by our idea of creating a common space of cooperation and security from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean which would comprise various integration formats, including the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Union," he said.