Italian PM against ‘automatic’ anti-Russia sanctions

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte reaffirmed his government’s commitment to establishing better ties with Russia, in his address to parliament on Wednesday, saying sanctions against Moscow should not be ‘automatic’. “We will reaffirm the principle that there should be nothing ‘automatic’ about the renewal of sanctions,” Conte said ahead of the EU leaders meeting in Brussels on Thursday. While EU leaders are scheduled to discuss the renewal of the anti-Russia sanctions, the PM stressed that his government “will continue to focus on sustaining Russian civil society”. Commenting on how sanctions affected Italian businesses, Conte emphasized that his government “will also focus on the interests of our small and medium enterprises”.