Italian Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said his government opposed the idea to prolong the anti-Russian sanctions.
'I am convinced that sanctions are economic, social, and cultural madness,' he said on a visit to Moscow on October 17, as quoted by RFE/RL.
'He criticized the basis of the sanctions, which were imposed on Moscow after Russia's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and backing for separatists in eastern Ukraine in a war against the government.' The EU's dominant powers, Germany and France, and most other EU members have said the sanctions should stay in place until progress is made in ending that conflict. Salvini charged that the EU is sanctioning Russia for "alleged violations against Ukraine," while taking no action over Turkey's occupation of northern Cyprus -- "a European country" -- since 1974. "It is folly," he said, vowing to "do his best" to bring an end to the Russian sanctions, or at least to resist attempts to make their renewal every six months automatic. "If we are asked to confirm, we will say no. It's clear that it makes no sense that they are in place," he told a gathering of Italian businessmen in Moscow in a speech live-streamed on his Facebook account', the outlet wrote.
Earlier, Salvini considered the annexation of Crimea legal and said that the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine was fake. Foreign Ministry of Ukraine condemned such statement and Italian Ambassador to Ukraine Davide La Cecilia assured that "position of Italy in the support of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine is clear and consistent."
Recently, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko stated that he would like to take Italy’s Prime Minister to Donbas to show the consequences of the battle actions and the Russian aggression in Ukraine.