"The cooperation of our business with our Russian colleagues has a very long history. Over the last 20-30 years, we have been able to establish really very close ties, which became the economic reality. Our companies have long been working on the Russian market, and your entrepreneurs have come to Italy. Of course, the introduction of anti-Russian sanctions by Europe, followed by counter-measures from Russia are detrimental to this cooperation, and we are not just talking about the need for their abolition," Drudi told RIA Novosti.
He stressed that only by mid-2016, the 44,000 companies from his province, have lost 35 percent of their exports to Russia, which caused damage in the amount of 88 million euros.
"That's why we were considering the idea to at least suspend the sanctions, which are active on both sides, so both our and your businessmen could return to working together, as it used to be. I decided to turn to President Putin with this request, and my initiative was joined by the president of the Chamber of Commerce of Perugia," Drudi said.
The official recalled that Crimea's reunification with Russia once became a stumbling block in the relations between Russia and the West, which later resulted in several rounds of sanctions, but Drudi's personal reaction was to support the will of the democratic society and the legitimate vote in the referendum.
The United States, the European Union and some of their allies have imposed several rounds of sanctions against Moscow over Crimea’s reunification with Russia and Moscow's alleged involvement in the conflict in Ukraine, which started as Kiev launched a military operation in the country's eastern regions in April 2014.
In response, Moscow imposed a year-long food embargo on the countries that had sanctioned it, which was later prolonged as the sanctions had been extended.