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Italy’s new government to seek lifting of anti-Russian sanctions, says PM

The prime minister said Italy will be open for dialogue with Russia
Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte Francesco Ammendola/Italian Presidency via AP
Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte
© Francesco Ammendola/Italian Presidency via AP

ROME, June 5. /TASS/. Italy’s new government will be coming out against the anti-Russian sanctions that hit the Russian economy and the civil society, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told on Tuesday the upper house of the parliament, where the government faces a confidence vote.

"The new government of Italy will be seeking that the sanction policy against Russia be reviewed, especially those [sanctions] that affect the economy and the civil society of the Russian Federation," he said.

The prime minister said Italy "will be fully open to Russia that has in the recent years strengthened its international role in the settlement of geopolitical crises". He emphasized, however, that Italy will remain a NATO country, while the US will remain its "traditionally privileged partner".

Following the incorporation of Crimea after a coup in Ukraine, Moscow came under sanctions from the United States and many European countries. The restrictive measures were soon ramped up following Western and Ukrainian claims that Russia was supporting the militias in self-proclaimed republics of Ukraine’s southeast and was involved in the destabilization of Ukraine.

Talks on visa-free trips and on a new cooperation agreement were suspended. Travel bans were imposed on Russian officials and their assets were frozen, restrictions were also imposed in trade, financial and military sectors. All in all, 151 people and 37 legal entities found themselves on the sanctions list. Sectoral sanctions are in place against 20 Russian financial, oil producing and defense entities.

The European Union has repeatedly extended sanctions ever since.