07:54 GMT +324 October 2019
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    Italy Ready to Advocate Removal of EU Sanctions Against Russia as "Harmful" - RDIF

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    ROME (Sputnik) - Italy is prepared to denounce EU sanctions against Russia as "harmful" and advocate their removal, while Italian businesses display interest for the Russian market, Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) CEO Kirill Dmitriev told reporters Thursday.

    "It [Italian government] is prepared to clearly voice to the European Union that sanctions against Russia are harmful and should be abolished", Dmitriev said.

    He added that the Russian market is of interest for Italian businesses, which is why Rome gets more inclined to cooperate with Moscow.

    "We can see that Italian businesses actively enter the Russian market and have interest for it. Italian businesses are against the sanctions. That is why we see the new Italian government being even more inclined toward cooperating with Russia than the previous one. Italian businesses want and will invest in Russia," Dmitriev added.

    Russian-EU relations turned sour in 2014 when the European Union, along with the United States, hit Russia with economic sanctions over the armed conflict in Ukraine’s east. Russia has denied any role in the fighting and retaliated by imposing a food embargo on those Western nations that targeted it with sanctions.

    The new Italian government, a coalition comprising the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and the Eurosceptic Lega party, led by Salvini, has consistently called for the lifting of anti-Russia sanctions and Moscow’s reinstatement as a strategic mediator of the Syrian, Libyan and Yemeni crises, and a partner in counterterrorism efforts.

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