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Putin does not expect Italy to try to ease EU sanctions on Russia

He stressed that Russia expected relations with Italy to progress

ST. PETERSBURG, June 6. /TASS/. Moscow does not expect Italy to take any steps to ease the European Union’s sanctions, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at Thursday’s meeting with the heads of the world’s leading news outlets, commenting on his upcoming visit to Italy.

When Editor-in-Chief of Italy’s ANSA news outlet Luigi Contu asked if Putin expected Italian authorities to try to ease the EU sanctions on Moscow, the Russian leader answered in the negative.

Putin pointed out that Italy was a disciplined member of the European Union and NATO, so it was unlikely to make any decisions that would run counter to the Western trends in politics. "[Such decisions] require a different situation, different global policy trends and different national policies, particularly in Italy. However, the world is not ready to this level of sovereignty at the moment, and I think that some of the European countries are not ready as well," Putin emphasized.

At the same time, he said that Russia expected relations with Italy to progress. He added that he was grateful to Italian authorities who were expressing "willingness to find ways to improve" relations between the two countries, as well as between the European Union and Russia. "I expect that broad discussions will take place [during the visit] that will concern bilateral matters and international relations, Putin said.

Kremlin Aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters earlier that the Russian president planned to visit Italy in the summer. Italian Ambassador to Russia Pasquale Terracciano said that Putin was expected to visit the country in July. The Vatican, in turn, announced that Pope Francis would receive the Russian president on July 4.