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MILAN, June 10. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday his talk with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was about western sanctions against Moscow hindering both economies.
‘We spoke about the sanctions but this was a down-to-earth talk: we spoke not about their cancellation or curtailment but about these sanctions impeding the development of our relations," the Russian leader said at a press conference after the negotiations with the Italian premier.
Russia and Italy had to suspend several joint infrastructural projects due to the western sanctions imposed against Moscow over its stance on Ukraine developments, the Russian leader said.
"It is completely obvious that Italian companies, which competed for our contracts, are interested in their implementation. But they were stalled and can’t be implemented," Putin said.
"It is necessary to look for a way out of this situation: ether you need to cancel the sanctions or offer other instruments if, of course, you want to support your companies," the Russian president said.
‘We’ll surely find partners but it seems to me that we shouldn’t abandon the instruments we have developed and mutually advantageous contracts," Putin said.
Similar problems emerged in Russian-Italian military and technical cooperation, Putin said.
This cooperation is not of vital importance for ensuring Russia’s defense capability but Italian enterprises have failed to earn a billion euros due to the sanctions and the suspension of projects, the Russian president said.
"They could have earned this money, could have had their enterprises’ production capacities utilized, could have created or maintained jobs. But this did not happen because of the sanctions," the Russian president said.
Putin has voiced regret over a reduction of trade between Russia and Italy, which has dropped by a quarter since the beginning of the year.
"For well known reasons the trading volume declined by one-tenth in 2014 and by one quarter during the first three months of 2015," the Russian leader told the news conference.
Putin noted that "such state of affairs, of course, cannot suit us - both the governments and business communities in both countries."
"We know that the Italian businesses do not want to interrupt mutually beneficial projects with Russia, entrepreneurs are showing considerable interest in the Russian exposition [at Expo-2015]," the Russian president said. He noted that the "Italian businesses would be highly represented at the St.Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 18-20." A seminar titled 'Russia-Italy: Strengthening Trade and Investment Ties Under the Conditions of Geopolitical Tensions' is to be held within the framework of the forum.
Putin recalled that there about 400 Italian companies and representative offices of 7 banks in Russia. Italian investment in Russia totaled $1.1 billion and Russian investment in Italy - $2.3 billion.
"Our joint work with Mr.Renzi continues, we will communicate in the format of the delegations with the participation of a number of ministries and representatives of business circles," Putin said. He added that he was going to hold a meeting with his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella and pay a visit to Vatican to talk with Pope Francis.
Putin thanked Renzi for the invitation to Expo-2015 and joint participation in the opening ceremony of Russia Day and for the meaningful conversation.