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World Russia not trying to split EU, Putin says before rare visit to Western Europe

01:25  05 june  2018
01:25  05 june  2018 Source:   reuters.com

Russia invites North Korea's Kim Jong Un to visit

  Russia invites North Korea's Kim Jong Un to visit <p>Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Pyongyang on Thursday invited North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to visit Russia, Moscow said, during the first meeting between the head of the reclusive state and a Russian official.</p>Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Pyongyang on Thursday invited North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to visit Russia, Moscow said, during the first meeting between the head of the reclusive state and a Russian official.

Vladimir Putin sitting at a table in front of a flower: Russian President Putin attends a meeting with foreign investors as part of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum © REUTERS/Grigory Dukor Russian President Putin attends a meeting with foreign investors as part of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum Russian President Vladimir Putin, in an interview broadcast on Monday, said he did not want to divide the European Union as he prepared to visit Austria in his first bilateral trip to a West European country in almost a year.

"We do not pursue the objective of dividing anything or anyone in the EU," Putin told broadcaster ORF.

"We are far more interested in the EU being united and flourishing because the EU is our most important trading and economic partner."

Putin says 'fierce' U.S. politics hindering summit with Trump

  Putin says 'fierce' U.S. politics hindering summit with Trump Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed political ructions in the United States for difficulties in arranging a summit with President Donald Trump, in remarks broadcast on Monday. Trump said in March the two leaders would meet soon. But since then already fragile ties between Washington and Moscow have been strained further by the conflict in Syria and the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. Putin said last month the proposed summit was beset by problems and was not working out for now.Asked by Austrian broadcaster ORF why it was taking so long to arrange, he said: "You have to ask our colleagues in the USA.

Putin, who has not made a bilateral visit to a West European country since he went to Finland last July, will meet government and business leaders in Austria in a trip which officially marks 50 years since the two countries' energy firms Gazprom and OMV first signed a gas supply deal.

He will attend a business conference with envoys from both countries.

But the issue of EU sanctions, imposed on Russia because of its support for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, will weigh in any official talks he has.

Moscow's ties with EU countries remain strained after Russia's annexation of Crimea, its involvement in Syria and eastern Ukraine and the poisoning of a former Russian double agent in Britain. London has blamed the nerve agent poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter on Russia but Moscow has denied any involvement.

Putin says he wants to build bridges with Europe. Others see a wedge

  Putin says he wants to build bridges with Europe. Others see a wedge Russian President Vladimir Putin visits Austria on Tuesday, and he says he wants to build bridges to Europe. Some fear he seeks to drive a wedge in it. The official reason for the trip, Putin's first foreign visit since he won a landslide re-election in March, is for talks with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and President Alexander Van der Bellen. Trade and economic cooperation are at the top of the agenda: Putin is slated to attend a meeting with Russian and Austrian business representatives to discuss investment opportunities and economic cooperation.

Austria's coalition government of conservatives and the pro-Putin far right was in a minority of EU governments that did not expel any Russian diplomats over the Skripal case and Austria, despite its membership of the EU, points to its history of neutrality and its relatively warm relations with Russia.

Moscow wants the EU to lift sanctions, but the bloc has linked that to progress on the ground, which has not happened.

Austria, which takes over the rotating EU presidency in July, has said it wants to act as a bridge between east and west.

The leader of the far-right Freedom Party, which has a cooperation agreement with Putin's United Russia party, called this weekend for sanctions to be lifted.

But Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and his conservatives, who control Austria's EU policy, have said Austria will toe the EU line.

"We decide pragmatically whether to cooperate with someone politically," Putin said when asked in the interview about United Russia's ties with far-right parties.

"We try to work with those who publicly express the wish themselves to work with us," he added.

(Reporting by Francois Murphy; Additional reporting by Denis Pinchuk in Moscow; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

Kremlin says Trump-Kim summit proves Putin was right about N.Korea .
The Kremlin said on Wednesday that a summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un showed Russian President Vladimir Putin had been right to advocate direct dialogue as the only way of reducing tensions with North Korea. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call that the summit had helped reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula.But he said it would have been wrong to have expected that all of the issues surrounding North Korea's missile and nuclear programme could have been solved in an hour.

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