Putin hosts top EU official for talks during rare visit

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is hosting the European Commission’s president for talks on Russia-EU ties.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the EU’s executive Commission, is the highest ranking EU official to visit Russia since the country annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in March 2014, triggering sanctions from the U.S. and EU. Moscow retaliated by banning imports of meat, vegetable and dairy products from the EU, a blow to many of the bloc’s members.

In welcoming Juncker for talks, Putin said that he followed his remarks earlier Thursday at an international economic forum in St.Petersburg.

In his address to the forum, Juncker said the relationship between Russia and the EU is “not broken beyond repair,” adding that “we need to mend it and I believe we can.”

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