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ROME, June 7. /TASS/. The governor of Italian Liguria, Giovanni Toti, spoke out on Tuesday against sanctions imposed against Russia over Ukraine, terming them ‘suicidal’ and saying sanctions failed to help solve the Ukrainian crisis and damaged Italy’s economy.
Russia should be regarded as "strategic partner from the economic, military and cultural points of view," the governor told a session of the regional council that considers a resolution against sanctions.
"Supporting sanctions against the Russian Federation is self-destruction, it hugely damages our economy, that is why we are voting today for the resolution which urges the government of Italy and the European Union to revise the issue of sanctions," the governor said.
"Sanctions have failed to solve either the diplomatic problem or the crisis in the east of the European continent," Toti went on. "They just had their role in destroying the spirit of the agreement reached in Pratica di Mare (in 2002, to set up the Russia-NATO Council)," the governor added.
He said it was impossible to cope with a new threat coming from Islamic extremism without a union with Russia.
The resolution seeking the lifting of sanctions and recognition of Crimea’s status was put to a vote by representatives of the Northern League (Lega Nord) opposition party that rules in Liguria in alliance with Forza Italia (Forward, Italy), a party led by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi." The party has always objected a chill in relations with Russia. Toti is a close companion of the former prime minister.
The regional council of the northern Veneto region where the Northern League has a majority, was the first to adopt the pro-Crimean resolution. A similar vote is scheduled in another northern region of Italy, Lombardia, on July 4, Tass has learned.
The Northern League was one of the first European parties to recognize Crimea’s independent status while its leader Matteo Salvini was one of the first to make a trip to the peninsula. The party deems it necessary to fully restore economic relations with Russia and give up the anti-Russian sanctions, which had caused multi-billion losses to the Italian business.
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.