20:34 GMT17 May 2021
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    Attempts by some European states to provoke a standoff between Russia and Europe are a "tragic mistake," Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said.

    Renzi underscored Italy’s commitment to dialogue and said he believes his country plays a major role in international politics.

    "Some countries that recently joined our bloc [the European Union] are considering confrontation with Russia. This is a tragic mistake," the prime minister said during his speech at the 36th Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples in Rimini, Italy.

    "Europe cannot be built on confrontation with its largest neighboring nation," he added.

    Renzi also explained that the most serious economic problem Russia is currently facing is not sanctions but the oil prices of $40 per barrel.

    The relations between Russia and the West have deteriorated over the Ukrainian crisis. EU countries, the US and Canada imposed several rounds of anti-Russian sanctions. In response, Russia introduced a ban on food imports from countries which imposed sanctions against Moscow.


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