MILAN, June 10. /TASS/. Russia and Italy are the most important partners that respect the interests of each other, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the opening ceremony of the Russian Day at Expo-2015 universal exhibition in Milan on Wednesday.
"Russia and Italy have the closest ties," the Russian leader said, reminding that "the history of trade, humanitarian and cultural contacts [of two countries] extends back over five centuries."
"Today Italy is our most important trade partner in Europe and a major investor of Russia’s economy, we cooperate on the international arena and try to take into consideration and respect the interests of each other," Putin stressed.
The president noted that Russia was one of the first countries to back Italy’s bid for hosting the universal exhibition in Milan. "We treated the preparation of the Russian exposition with special attention and responsibility," Putin said.
Russia joined the exhibition movement since its very beginning some 160 years ago and took part in the first universal exhibition in London in 1851 and also in Milan in 1906, he said.