ROME, September 10 (RIA Novosti) – Italy has not been overly enthusiastic about Western sanctions against Russia and could contribute to facilitating political dialogue between Moscow and Europe, Russia's Ambassador to Italy Sergei Razov told RIA Novosti Friday.
"As a member of the European Union and NATO, Italy holds a position with respect to Russia that has been consolidated and coordinated with these organizations, including regarding sanctions. At the same time we can certainly note a stable position of the Italian leadership in favor of maintaining political dialogue between Europe and Russia," Razov said.
"Italy, as we see it, is one of the European nations that are not thrilled by the sanctions and would tend to minimize the real damage from the restrictions," Razov added.
According to the ambassador, the upcoming meetings between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his foreign partners on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit in Milan on October 16-17 could play a role in restoring trust between Russia and the European Union.
Tensions between Russia and the West have been aggravated by the ongoing Ukrainian crisis. The conflict in Ukraine escalated in April, when Kiev launched a military operation against independence supporters in southeastern regions, who refused to recognize the new government, which came to power in the country following the February coup.
The United States and the European Union have been accusing Russia of meddling in Ukraine's internal affairs and have imposed several rounds of economic sanctions against Moscow, with several other countries, including Canada and Japan, following suit.
Moscow has repeatedly stressed that Russia is not involved in the Ukrainian conflict and that the language of sanctions is counterproductive. Russian President Vladimir Putin has noted that sanctions hurt not only the target country, but also those using the measure.