'ASAP': Italy’s Economic Minister Urges Lifting of Anti-Russia Sanctions

© Sputnik / Vladimir Sergeev / Go to the photo bankFlags of Russia, EU, France and coat of arms of Nice on the city's promenade
Flags of Russia, EU, France and coat of arms of Nice on the city's promenade - Sputnik International
Italian businesses were exposed to severe economic pressure because of the anti-Russia sanctions.

View of the Moscow Kremlin - Sputnik International
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ROME (Sputnik) — Economic sanctions imposed against Russia over the situation in Ukraine must be canceled at the earliest possible moment, the Italian economy minister said Monday.

"I sincerely hope that we will come to canceling [anti-Russian] sanctions as soon as possible, and that economic partnership between Europe and Russia, as well as Italy and Russia will continue to grow," Pier Carlo Padoan said, answering a RIA Novosti question at a press briefing in Rome.

He stressed that many European and Italian businesses operate in Russia, with some of them experiencing a decrease in productivity, and some even having to close.

"That is why, it is obviously in the common interests of Europe and Italy to normalize relations with Russia," the minister said.

Taavi Roivas, Prime Minister of Estonia - Sputnik International
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The European Union, alongside the Unites States and a few other countries, imposed in 2014 economic sanctions against Russia over its alleged involvement in the Ukrainian crisis. The sanctions targeted Russian defense, energy and banking resources.

Moscow has repeatedly denied the accusations, and in response introduced in August 2014 a one-year ban on imports of certain food products from the states that established restrictions.

Western sanctions against Moscow are set to expire in July. In March, EU leaders decided to keep the sanctions in place until a February ceasefire in Ukraine is fully implemented.

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