08:07 GMT06 August 2020
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    Leader of Italy's right-wing Lega party and candidate to become the country's prime minister, Matteo Salvini, has called for the abolition of anti-Russian sanctions, also warning against fanning fear over the alleged threat from Moscow.

    Speaking to reporters in the northwestern Italian city of Udine on March 19, Lega party leader Matteo Salvini described the economic sanctions against Russia as "insanity directed against a friendly and neighboring market," according to Ria Novosti.

    "I want to work for peace, not war. I do not want to group the small tanks as if in the game 'Risk'. It is Islamic terrorism that poses a threat, but the small tanks target Russia for unknown reasons. Are you really afraid of being conquered by the Russian army?" Salvini asked.

    READ MORE: Abandon Euro, Kick Out Illegals: What Italy's Lega May Do With Possible Mandate

    Urging Italians to regain control of their own country, he stressed that "neither Berlin nor Paris nor Brussels should explain to us how to manage Italy."

    Separately, Salvini touched upon the March 18 presidential elections in Russia, in which incumbent Vladimir Putin won an overwhelming victory.

    "Yesterday Russians cast ballots and I have [already] sent my congratulations to President Putin," Salvini said.

    READ MORE: Italy's Lega Nord Leader Slams Merkel for 'Causing Damage' to the Country

    During the general elections in Italy on March 4, a center-right coalition, consisting of the Lega party, former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia, right-wing Brothers of Italy and Us with Italy, won 37.48 percent of the vote in the upper house and 36.96 percent in the lower one.

    Salvini, who has been at the helm of the Lega party since December 2013, became widely known in Europe and beyond mainly thanks to an active campaign against anti-Russian sanctions, as well as harsh criticism of the economic policies of the European Union and the single European currency.

    He became the first Italian party leader to openly recognize Crimea's reunification with Russia in 2014.


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