Italy will defend Russia against Europe’s sanctions policy

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ROME – The Italian populists will try to convince Europe that Russia’s isolation is futile, Italian Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry and League member Gian Marco Centinaio.

“I think we now need to think about the fact that Russia is an important partner and should not be isolated. We will try to convince the rest, so that everyone agrees with us in the end,” Centinaio said during an important rally organized by the leader of the League and Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini in Milan.

Salvini has built a pan-European bloc of populist parties before the European Parliament elections, in which his party is designed to make some of the most notable gains. The demonstration was followed by 11 representatives of populist European parties, including French leader Marine Le Pen, the leader of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) Jorg Meuthen, and the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV), Geert Wilders.

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Relations between Russia and the West deteriorated in 2014 due to Moscow’s alleged involvement in the Ukrainian conflict and the reunification of the Crimea with Russia following a referendum.

Since then, the United States and the European Union have imposed several rounds of sanctions on Russia’s energy, banking, defense and other sectors, as well as several Russian authorities. Moscow repeatedly denied the accusations and reacted with countermeasures, such as an embargo on food products, against the Western nations that attacked it with sanctions.

According to the UN Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures Idriss Jazairy, the EU lost more in terms of income than Russia, which was able to mitigate losses from EU sanctions, boosting domestic production.

In March, Jazairy said he would apply sanctions that cost more to the Europeans, which to the Russians was “crazy” and asked the sides to find other ways to overcome the contradictions.

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