21:10 GMT +320 October 2017
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    Italian Officials Ask Putin to Withdraw Food Embargo Amid Recent Earthquake

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    Italian high-ranking officials from two of the country's provinces affected by the recent earthquake asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to temporarily withdraw the food embargo imposed by Russia in response to Western sanctions. They also called for Brussels to lift sanctions against Moscow.

    Alberto Drudi and Giorgio Mencaroni, Presidents of Chambers of Commerce in Italy's provinces of Pesaro and Urbino and Perugia, sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin with a request to suspend the restrictive measures imposed by Moscow in response to EU sanctions.

    "I wrote letters to Vladimir Putin and President of the European Commission Juncker, in which I addressed the issues of anti-Russian sanctions and embargo imposed by Russia. I asked them to temporarily lift the sanctions and the embargo, because our region, Marche and Umbria, have been destroyed by a devastating earthquake," Drudi told Sputnik Italy.

    According to Drudi, Italian companies have built an excellent relationship with Russia over last few years. However, sanctions are now blocking cooperation between the two countries.

    "We have not only lost our market, but we are losing our relations as a whole. Russian companies are beginning to cooperate with other countries, and this is not good. So we asked Russia to cancel the sanctions for the companies located in the regions affected by the earthquake, at least temporarily," the official said.

    Italy's central regions have recently suffered from several catastrophic earthquakes, as result of which dozens of people were injured and numerous houses were destroyed. In addition to the overall devastation, the region also suffer from huge economic losses reaching about 88 millions euro.

    Although local parliaments in a number of large regions called for the abolition of the anti-Russian sanctions, the policy of the central government has not changed.

    "It's hard to say (whether it happens), but it is clear that if Veneto, Lombardy, Liguria, Marche and other regions will promote the idea of lifting the sanctions, neither the national government, nor the EU will be able to ignore it as the losses will affect the whole of Europe," Drudi concluded.

    The United States, the European Union and some of their allies imposed several rounds of sanctions against Moscow over Crimea's reunification with Russia and Moscow's alleged involvement in the conflict in Ukraine, which started after Kiev launched a military operation in the country's eastern regions in April 2014.

    In response, Moscow imposed a year-long food embargo on the countries that had sanctioned it, which was later prolonged as the sanctions were extended.

    Related:

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    Italy's Tuscany Becomes 4th Region to Protest Anti-Russia Sanctions
    Tags:
    food embargo, anti-Russian sanctions, Russia, Pesaro nad Urbino, Perugia, Italy
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