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Anti-Russian sanctions damage Italy’s economic interests — senator

An Italian senator says the country should also lift a number of embargoes imposed on Syria

ROME, October 11 /TASS/. The anti-Russian sanctions, which are damaging Italy’s economic interests, should be lifted, Manilo Di Stefano, a deputy of Italy’s opposition Five Star Movement, told TASS on Tuesday.

"Our stance remains unchanged: the sanctions imposed on Russia should be lifted because they are absolutely useless and are damaging our country’s interests," Di Stefano, who is in charge of the party’s foreign policy, said.

The politician added that Italy should also lift a number of embargoes imposed on Syria because it is the civilian population who is suffering from the sanctions regime. "If we want to cease the fire in Syria, it is necessary to set a moratorium on arms sales and cut off channels of financial support for terrorists," De Stefano stressed.

The Italian deputy presented an alternative view on the situation in Syria that differed greatly from what the Western media is writing about the Syrian crisis at a recently organized news conference.

Other speakers including Maronite Archbishop Joseph Tobji who had arrived from Aleppo underlined Russia’s major role. "If it were not for Russia’s military involvement, both Aleppo and Damascus would have fallen to terrorists long ago," the clergyman said.

European Council President Donald Tusk has recently suggested extending the anti-Russian sanctions over the situation in Syria where, according to him, the Russian side is responsible for the bombardments and civilian deaths in Aleppo. The only option now, he stressed, is to extend the sanctions. Any other option would mean capitulation, Tusk told an international conference in Berlin.

In 2014, the European Union imposed sanctions on Russia over its policy in Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia. It has expanded and extended them many times. On July 1, the European Union Council officially extended the anti-Russian sanctions until January 31, 2017.