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MOSCOW, March 21. /TASS/. Ex-premier of Italy, former European Commission President Romano Prodi has called to restore full-format relations between the European Union and Russia.
"We are making many mistakes in relations with Russia," Prodi told the Russian daily Izvestia.
He said "it is now in the interests of Russia and Italy to joinly work to change as soon as possible the political climate in relations between Russia and the EU, as today we are committing a political and economic suicide."
"It is necessary to reset the old solid ties between the sides that existed 15 years ago," Prodi said. "It is necessary to build trade relations between the EU and the Eurasian Union, which means the soonest possible lifting of sanctions."
Asked about possible cancelation of sanctions, the politician noted certain changes at the latest meeting of the EU foreign ministerial council.
He called economics and cultural exchanges the most promising cooperation spheres on the bilateral agenda.
For incorporation of Crimea after the 2014 coup in Ukraine, Russia came under sanctions on the part of the United States and many European countries. The restrictive measures were soon intensified following Western and Ukrainian claims that Russia supported militias in self-proclaimed republics in Ukraine’s southeast and was involved in destabilization of Ukraine.
As countermeasures, Russia imposed on August 6, 2014 a one-year ban on imports of beef, pork, poultry, fish, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and dairy products from Australia, Canada, the European Union, the United States and Norway.
The Russian authorities have repeatedly denied accusations of "annexing" Crimea, because Crimea reunified with Russia voluntarily after a referendum, as well as claims that Moscow could in any way be involved in hostilities in Ukraine’s east.