Accessibility links

Breaking News

Putin Says He's Willing To Reach Out To Europe Despite Sanctions

Russian President Vladimir Putin made his remarks at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2016.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country is willing to improve relations with Europe but insisted that the West was responsible for the strained ties.

"We hold no grudge and are willing to reach out to our European partners but obviously this can't be a one-sided game," Putin told Russia’s top economic conference in St. Petersburg on June 17.

However, he insisted that European Union sanctions, which were imposed in response to Moscow's interference in Ukraine, had led to the current "collapse" in ties.

Putin called on the EU to "show flexibility" and consider the interests of EU investors who want to do business with Russia.

"European business wants and is ready to work with our country. European politicians need to reach out to business, to show wisdom, far-sightedness and flexibility," Putin said.

Western business leaders are attending the economic forum in St. Petersburg this year after a two-year break.

On June 16, Putin told a meeting with international executives, including the CEO of the oil company Royal Dutch Shell, that Russia is open to Western investment despite the strained ties with the West.

The United States and EU slapped Moscow with economic sanctions in 2014 over Russia’s annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and its backing of separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP