Russia says it’s open to better ties with EU despite chill

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s top diplomat has blamed the European Union for a freeze in ties but argues that Moscow remains ready to mend relations if it hears positive signals from the EU. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after Monday’s talks in St. Petersburg with his Finnish counterpart, Pekka Haavisto, that “if the EU decides that it’s necessary to restore relations, we will be ready for it.” Lavrov’s statement followed his warning last week that Moscow was ready for a split with the 27-nation bloc if it moves to introduce new crippling sanctions. Russia-EU ties, which sank to post-Cold War lows after Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea, took a new blow recently over the arrest of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.