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Merkel keeps up case for EU talks with Russia despite objections

BERLIN – European Union talks with Russia would be useful on a number of issues, not least to tell Russian President Vladimir Putin directly that cyber attacks are no basis for a productive relationship, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday.

“Here, I think it is better not only to talk among ourselves but also to confront the Russian president with these things and to say ‘on such a basis a fruitful cooperation cannot take place’,” Merkel told German and French lawmakers.

European Union leaders on Friday rejected a Franco-German proposal to hold a summit with Russia after Poland and Baltic countries said it would send the wrong message as East-West ties deteriorate.

Merkel said the EU leaders had identified issues they agreed they wanted to address with Russia and had tasked officials with looking at formats and conditions under which talks with Moscow could go ahead. “That means we took one step forward but we’re not at our goal yet,” she added.

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