German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass has stated that the EU’s relations with Russia have hit rock bottom, but that it is necessary to maintain a dialogue.

During a meeting with his EU counterparts in Brussels on Monday, Maas made it clear that he is “in favour ordering the preparation of additional sanctions” against Russia.

“At the same time we need to talk about how to keep up a constructive dialogue with Russia, even as relations certainly have reached a low”, the German foreign minister emphasised.

The statement comes after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday that the breakup between Russia and the EU had been in the works for some time, with the bloc being the initiator.

“In general, it is clear for any person that takes at least some interest in the situation in Europe that the breakup has been going on for many years, as the EU consistently keeps severing ties”, Lavrov said at a press conference, held after talks with Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto.

According to the top Russian diplomat, the 2014 coup in Ukraine was a tipping point, as the EU “in fact showed it could do nothing with the agreement, which the authorities and the opposition reached just ahead of the coup and which was signed by Germany, France, and Poland”.

Lavrov added that there isn’t much left to Russia-EU relations, but Moscow is ready to continue a dialogue on mutually beneficial topics. He also said that if the EU decides to restore ties with Russia, Moscow will be ready for it.