Italy may become 1st EU nation to support lifting of anti-Russia sanctions

Italy may become 1st EU nation to support lifting of anti-Russia sanctions
Rome will address the question of anti-Russia sanctions by the end of the year, said the Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini at a press conference in Moscow.

His statement comes as the European Council announced this month that the sanctions against Russia will remain in place until January 31, 2019.

“In our opinion, sanctions don't benefit anyone, including the Italian economy. During this year in Brussels we will raise the issue of reviewing such an ineffective policy,” Salvini said.

He added that Italy has “already returned to good relations with Russia on the issues of culture, trade, industry and security.”

According to the minister, Rome wants Italian businesses to work with Russian companies, as well as to boost cooperation between the states on security issues. Salvini told reporters that talks are expected in October with Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding cooperation between Russian and Italian farmers.

In 2014, the US and the EU imposed sanctions against Moscow after accusing Russia of supporting a military uprising in eastern Ukraine. Moscow denied the accusation and responded with counter-sanctions, banning imports of certain agricultural products, raw materials and foodstuffs from countries that target Russia with sanctions.

The ban includes meat products, fish, seafood, fruits and vegetables, and dairy products. The sides have been extending sanctions multiple times. The foreign food embargo has given a boost to domestic agriculture. Russia has become the world’s largest grain exporter, producing the largest harvest in forty years.

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