Moscow is ready for compromise on Kaliningrad issue

Moscow is ready to seek a compromise on the Kaliningrad problem in the context of the EU expansion. The Russian party "is ready to seek decisions" concerning the region "that reflect real, not far-fetched anxieties of the EU", said Russian deputy foreign minister Evgeny Gusarov in an exclusive interview with RIA Novosti.

Admitting new countries to the EU should not be accompanied by "creating barriers against the closest neighbours", the diplomat stressed.

Moscow has "a positive attitude towards the EU expansion and welcomes the creation of a single zone near Russian borders that will play by common rules and that aims at developing strategic cooperation" with Russia, Gusarov said.

"Yet moving its borders eastwards, the EU should not try to move division lines or to create new ones," he pointed out, adding that the Kaliningrad region might become one of such lines.

Gusarov recalled that a few years ago Russia had expressed its anxiety about the Kaliningrad situation in case of the EU expansion to Poland and Lithuania. The Russian party believes there are ways of solving the problem without preventing Russian citizens from travelling from one city to another, and without turning Kaliningrad in a region with a specific international legal status and rules for travelling via third countries, the deputy minister said.

Vladimir Putin, when speaking at the ambassadors' session in the foreign ministry on Friday, said that "coordination of stands and compromising decisions are possible, but not at the expense of our country's interests and our citizens' rights", Gusarov pointed out.

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