02:08 GMT26 February 2020
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    Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in Milan on Wednesday, where they discussed both international cooperation and the thorns that have popped up in recent years.

    Meeting with Italy's Prime Minister on Wednesday, Russia's President discussed cooperation, but also the issues that have popped up between the two countries as a result of decisions made by NATO, the European Union and G7.

    Putin and Renzi did not discuss the lifting or easing of EU sanctions against Russia. They did look at the negative impact that the sanctions had on the relationship between Russia and Italy, both in terms of trade and military cooperation. The suspension of economic ties did not greatly impact Russia's defense capability, but led Italian companies to lose around a billion euros, Putin said.

    Putin also weighed in on the Mediterranean migrant crisis, and how it was a direct consequence of the NATO intervention into Libya's 2011 civil war.

    "It’s obvious that what is currently happening in Libya is the direct consequence of a social and economic catastrophe and endless sorties of radical groups. We are convinced that what is occurring before our eyes is the factual collapse of the Libyan state, which is the result of the foreign military intervention in 2011," Putin said.

    Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said that Russia has an important role to play in the resolution of issues in Syria, Iraq and Libya, both inside the UN Security Council and through direct dialogue.

    "We are actively conducting dialogue, and exchange views on an array of issues. We discussed several UN Security Council resolutions… and we joked during the meeting that we need Russia's support and help on the Libyan issue; if it doesn't give us this support, we won't go to the official dinner," Renzi said.

    Putin added that Russia and the G7 have no relations as the group decided that it no longer needs Russia's point of view on international issues.

    "It seemed to me that there was some sort of reason in it because we showed a somewhat alternative point of view. But our partners decided that they didn’t need such an alternative point of view. That’s their decision. But this isn’t an organization, it’s a hobby group. We wish them success in this format," Putin added.

    Putin added that Russia backs the complete implementation of the Minsk agreement and, like Italy, sees no alternative to a peaceful settlement in the Donbass region.


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    NATO, sanctions, European Union, G7, Matteo Renzi, Vladimir Putin, Italy, Russia
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