18:18 GMT18 January 2021
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    A group of Italian businessmen and politicians is participating in the Yalta International Economic Forum (YIEF) in order to establish reliable partnerships with Russian business, Stefano Valdegamberi, an Italian lawmaker and member of the delegation, said Thursday.

    SIMFEROPOL (Sputnik) — The third YIEF, a major annual economic and business event, kicked off earlier in the day in Crimea. A total of 1,500 participants from 40 countries are participating in the forum, with the Italian delegation being the largest.

    "A solid representation of Italian business community has come to the forum. These people have firm intentions to find reliable partners in Crimea and in Russia in general, in different sectors of economy," Valdegamberi, a member of Italy's Veneto Regional Council from the Lega Nord party, told journalists.

    The visit of the Italian delegation is also aimed at expressing their political stance, the lawmaker added, as the representatives do not share some tendencies of the Western countries with regard to Crimea’s reunification with Russia.

    "We want Russia to be an equal partner in the European economic cooperation and has not be excluded from it as some would like. We are calling for lifting of sanctions from Crimea so that it becomes free. These sanctions do not benefit anyone," Valdegamberi stressed.

    During the YIEF, the Italian delegation is expected to discuss major investment projects in Crimea and sign several agreements on strengthening cultural ties with the region, according to the event's organizers.

    Crimea seceded from Ukraine and reunified with Russia after more than 96 percent of local voters supported the move in the March 2014 referendum. The European Union did not recognize the vote and imposed sanctions on the region and Russia as a whole.


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