Making each other's life more difficult is not the core intention of the EU or Russia, even if it sometimes seems so. Each is pursuing its own policies to tackle challenges and exploit opportunities. Occasionally, decisions made independently by one can have a positive effect on both.
The EU and Russia may not be ready to eliminate trade tariffs but they both seem in the mood for trade facilitation. Queues of trucks at the borders, endless customs paperwork and complicated trade rules are not in any state's interest. These and similar issues are being addressed, even if progress is often slow. Border crossings have been modernised, roads improved, customs procedures digitalised. The EU and Russia may still have disagreements over the implementation of WTO rules, but both seem keen to keep the WTO mechanisms functioning. The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a severe blow to economic activity, including trade, which is another reason to look for ways to speed up the subsequent rebound.