EU President Donald Tusk said Wednesday he refused to congratulate Russian leader Vladimir Putin on his re-election, following the poisoning of an ex-spy in Britain that London blames on Moscow.
"After the Salisbury attack, I am not in the mood to celebrate president Putin's reappointment," Tusk told a news conference, a day after European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker sent Putin a congratulatory letter.
Juncker came under fire Tuesday from British MEPs for what they called the "nauseating" to Putin, returned for another six years in power on Sunday with a record vote share,
Juncker pledged to "always be a partner" in improving security cooperation with the Kremlin, which is currently under a punishing regime of sanctions for the Ukraine conflict and faced EU criticism for "violations" in the Russian vote.
British Prime Minister Theresa May is set to address EU leaders at a summit on Thursday on the progress of the investigation into the attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England.
Former Polish premier Tusk, who has often been tough on Russia, said the leaders will show "solidarity" with Britain after Salisbury but he also called for "practical conclusions as to what this means for the EU."
"To me it is clear that we should reinforce our preparedness for future attacks including in cooperation with NATO," Tusk said.
"And we need to increase our resilience to hybrid threats, such as undermining trust in our democracies through fake news or election meddling."