During an interview, a lawmaker Stefano Valdegamberi of Italy’s Veneto region, called for Crimea to be recognized by Europe as part of Russia, adding that the time has come to lift anti-Russian sanctions.
Valdegamberi is the author of a resolution on the recognition of Crimea, which is most likely to be approved by the Regional Council of Veneto during the May 18 vote.
“When in Crimea, I clearly saw its desire for self-determination, which is in line with the law, especially given that Crimea’s parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of its independence, which was confirmed during a national referendum there,” he said.
He added that he remains upbeat about the vote on the resolution, adding that the initiative on recognizing Crimea is supported by ordinary people in Veneto. Regarding the “absurd” anti-Russian sanctions, Valdegamberi said that Veneto residents “do not understand all those claims by the international community” related to Russia.
“We cannot find the reasons for which there must be financial sanctions against the Russian Federation and the resulting embargo on the export of our goods. I think that the EU is making a huge strategic mistake, because Russia should be part of Europe,” he pointed out.
He also said that it’s high time that someone “broke the silence on the situation in Italy,” adding that the fall in exports to Russia had already resulted in more than 600 million euros in losses in the Veneto region alone.
During a March 2014 referendum, more than 96 percent of the Crimean electorate voted in favor of seceding from Ukraine and joining Russia.
Kiev continues to consider Crimea a “temporarily occupied territory,” a stance that is supported by a number of Western countries. Moscow, in turn, insists that Crimea’s reunification with Russia took place in full accordance with international law.
The anti-Russian sanctions were first implemented in 2014 after Brussels joined Washington in accusing Moscow of fueling the Ukrainian crisis.
The sanctions have been prolonged several times despite the fact that Russia has repeatedly denied allegations of its involvement in the ongoing Ukrainian conflict. On December 22, 2015, the European Council decided to extend the anti-Russian economic sanctions until July 31, 2016.