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    Police officers get dressed in protective suiting at a car recovery depot in Norton Enterprise Park, where Sergei Skripal's car was originally transported, in Salisbury, Britain, March 13, 2018

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    Expulsion of Russian Diplomats Over Skripal Case (109)
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    The case of Sergey Skripal, a former Russian military intelligence officer who’d been working in Britain, has prompted a souring of UK-Russian relations. A number of EU countries together with the United States have expelled more than 100 Russian diplomats in “solidarity” with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

    While Rome has also joined its European and American partners, the only Italian politicians to protest against the decision of Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni are Matteo Salvini, the leader of Lega party and Giorgia Meloni, the leader of Fratelli d’Italia party. Since the introduction of first EU anti-Russian economic sanctions back in 2014, Italy has already suffered from their consequences.

    Sputnik Italia discussed the issue with Tiberio Graziani, the Chairman of Vision&Global Trends (The Platform for Future Issues and Challenges).

    Sputnik: What are the possible consequences of this diplomatic war with Russia?

    Tiberio Graziani: This is a very sensitive moment when it comes to diplomats; it’s the same as closing the door on our potential competitor. By expelling that many diplomats, the West shows that they don’t want a dialogue with Moscow. But now is the time for a dialogue; it’s necessary to set the record straight. What are the real sources of discord between the Western system and Russia? Reaching a compromise is possible only through a calm dialogue. The decision to expel Russian diplomats is prompting the Kremlin to defend itself and there’s nothing Moscow can do except respond in the same way. This would only worsen the situation.

    READ MORE: Moscow Slams Reported Britain's "Proof" on Skripal's Poisoning as 'May's Fail'

    Sputnik: In your opinion, what position has the outgoing Italian Government taken?

    Tiberio Graziani: Without a new government, by making such a decision, the transitional government has in some way tied the hands of the future government. The fact is that if the government changes, Russia will have a certain impression of us. Our ability to be flexible diplomats who are familiar with international politics will be questioned; the Kremlin will trust us less. The future government will have to manage to solve this problem.

    Sputnik: Salvini has straightaway protested Gentiloni’s decision; Meloni has also disagreed with the outgoing Government’s position. Do you think it’s possible to change the course under the new Government? Is there any possibility of renunciation of the hostile policy toward Moscow?

    Tiberio Graziani: The foreign policy toward Russia will always be dictated by Italy's position within the NATO and the EU. The US sanctions against some Russian economic and political figures would have an impact on the Nord Stream 2 project, which is important for the development of the European economy and affects the interests both of Italy and Germany. For some EU countries the diplomatic and spy wars may be worth their own national interests.

    The views and opinions expressed by Tiberio Graziani are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect Sputnik's position.

    Expulsion of Russian Diplomats Over Skripal Case (109)


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