The Russian President has had an uneasy relationship with Brussels for some time – but the Kremlin has voiced particular concern over the bloc’s activity in eastern Europe. The EU’s tough stance on Moscow has been particularly noticeable following the “illegal” annexation of Crimea in 2014. And Russia’s reputation was done no favours by the Salisbury poisoning incident in March 2018. However, in eerie echoes to that very incident, Putin referenced poison as he dismantled the EU’s conduct with Russia’s neighbours.
Appearing on World Order 2018, an Amazon Prime documentary hosted by Vladimir Solovjev, the Russian President discussed topics rarely answered by world leaders.
In it, Mr Solovjev argued: “We can see how the EU are trying to lead away our traditional allies.
“They are working on Belarus, Kazakhstan and now they are very active in Armenia.
“We can see how they drip poison into their ears.
“We should do something about it. Our allies are leaving us.”
Vladimir Putin has not always seen eye to eye with the EU
Former PM Theresa May visiting Salisbury after the poisoning incident
Putin’s response was ominous to say the least.
He said: “The poisoners dripping poison into someone’s ears will sooner or later swallow it and get poisoned.
“We have a good saying: ‘Don’t spit into the well, you’ll need to drink water from it’.
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“Very much to the point – what they are doing will come back to them.
“Instead, one should build relations with Russia and then everyone will be happy.”
In recent years, the EU has lifted sanctions on Belarus, dubbed Armenia a “bridge between Europe and Asia” and sounded out Kazakhstan as a potential future member.
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It is this political cosiness that has frustrated Moscow and, speaking earlier in the documentary, Putin suggested it is dishonest politics – the sort of dishonesty not seen in Russia.
He commented: “You should always hold a committed, open and honest position.
“In international politics, you should deal with people the way you do in normal life.
“Our partners must know that we are not cheating on them or misleading them, or trying to pull someone’s leg.
“We have a position one might disagree with but our position is transparent and stable.
“It means there is something to work with. It arouses trust and respect and is a good foundation for cooperation.”