19:16 GMT +313 December 2019
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    Italy's Prime minister Matteo Renzi

    Renzi Slammed for 'Selling Himself to US' by Extending Russia Sanctions

    © AFP 2019 / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE
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    Italian MP from the oppositional Movement of Five Stars (M5S) and a member of the parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee Manlio Di Stefano said that Italy can't lose such an important partner as Russia.

    Stefano called for the withdrawal of anti-Russian sanctions and advocated cooperation with Russia in various economic sectors.

    "We support the withdrawal of sanctions, but Renzi sold himself to Brussels and the United States and extended them, despite his statements made during SPIEF-2016," the politician told Sputnik.

    Stefano also noted that Russia plays a key role in the fight against terrorism and ensuring international security. According to him, the cooperation between Italy and Russia is essential.

    "We've always been honest with Russia, we have opposed sanctions; our movement is not pro-Russian or pro-American one, we are pro-Italian politicians and act in the interests of our citizens. And today, their interests coincide with the interests of Russian citizens," the politician stressed.

    Since 2014, the United States and the European Union have coordinated sanctions targeting Russian individuals and key sectors of its economy. The sanctions were initially imposed in response to Crimea's reunification with Russia and Western allegations of Moscow's involvement in the Ukraine crisis.

    Moscow has repeatedly refuted allegations of meddling into Ukraine's internal affairs. In response to the Western sanctions, Russia has sanctioned US individuals and also imposed a food embargo on some European countries.

    As result of the sanctions, the Italian economy has to bear serious losses, Renzi stated.

    "We can't afford to even think about giving up relations with the Russian economy because of political whims, the economy that is historically linked to ours," the politician stated.

    Earlier, another member of the Italian movement of Five Stars (M5S) Carlo Sibilia told Sputnik that he and his adherents support the idea of a referendum on the country's withdrawal from the euro zone. According to the politician, Italy has been experiencing one of the most difficult periods in its history since it has entered the monetary union.

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