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Closing Off Dialogue With Russia a 'Huge Mistake,' France's Macron Says

Europe shouldn’t make the “huge mistake” of avoiding dialogue with Russia, French President Emmanuel Macron told The Economist, continuing his recent overtures to the country that the West has shunned over its annexation of Crimea.

Macron previously attempted to bridge the European Union’s differences with Moscow this summer, warning against the “strategic error” of isolating Russia and describing Russia as “deeply European.” The EU, the United States and other Western allies have imposed a series of economic sanctions on Russia after it annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.

Europe should start acting like a strategic power whose first order of business is to re-open dialogue with Russia, Macron said in an interview with the British weekly published Thursday.

Failing to open communication channels with Moscow would be a “huge mistake,” Macron said, despite suspicions from Poland and other former Soviet-bloc states in the EU.

Macron also warned fellow EU member states that they can no longer rely on the U.S. to defend its NATO allies, saying that Washington is showing signs of “turning its back on us.”

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