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Italian diplomat speaks for ceasefire, dialogue in Ukraine

July 03, 2014, 18:20 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Italy plans to “try all approaches to resume dialogue between Russia and Europe”, Italy’s ambassador to Russia

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MOSCOW, July 03./ITAR-TASS/. Italy’s ambassador to Russia Cesare Maria Ragaglini on Thursday outlined urgent problems that need to be addressed in Ukraine.

“Ukraine is a big European country that is on the verge of an economic and financial disaster; there are tensions between different parts of the population,” Ragaglini said.

“But the most urgent problems that need to be resolved are how to cease fire and organize dialogue,” he said. “The European Union and Russia should in a responsible manner address the search for solutions that will make it possible to live together and in peace.”

“Italy will make special efforts to restore the EU’s relations with Russia. There is an economic interconnection between us that can be beneficial for both sides,” the ambassador said, adding that Italy plans to “try all approaches to resume dialogue between Russia and Europe.”

“I would like to remind you that the European Union has imposed no economic sanctions against Russia yet,” the diplomat said, “However, the issue of sanctions, which are not there yet, creates an atmosphere of uncertainty. This is a side effect of something which everyone talks about and which does not exist at the moment.”

Ukraine has been in turmoil since the end of last year, when then-President Viktor Yanukovych refused to sign an association agreement with the EU to study the deal more thoroughly. His refusal triggered anti-government protests that often turned violent and eventually led to a coup in February 2014.

New people were brought to power in Kiev amid riots and ultranationalist rhetoric that could be heard from them. Crimea refused to recognize the coup-imposed authorities, held a referendum and seceded from Ukraine to reunify with Russia in mid-March after some 60 years as part of Ukraine.

Crimea’s example apparently inspired residents of Ukraine’s Southeast, who supported the country’s federalization. They started massive protests and formed militias. Since mid-April, Kiev has been conducting a punitive operation against federalization supporters, which has claimed hundreds of lives.

The West and Kiev have refused to recognize the legality of Crimea’s reunification with Russia despite Moscow’s repeated statements that the Crimean referendum on secession from Ukraine was in line with the international law and the UN Charter and in conformity with the precedent set by Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in 2008.

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