A regional council in Italy’s northeastern Veneto region, with the administrative center in Venice, is due to vote on Wednesday on a resolution on recognizing the status of Crimea as part of Russia and lifting sanctions against Moscow.
The vote is scheduled to be held at 2.30 p.m. local time (12.30 GMT).
The text of the resolution obtained by TASS says its authors refer to Italy’s constitution and the international law envisaging the right to self-determination of people. The authors point to the “double standards” of the EU and the international community in approaches to the situation in Crimea and also “inconsistency” of position after the precedent set by Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in 2008.
The council in Veneto, Italy’s fifth most populous region, urges the Italian government to abandon the EU international policy in regard to Crimea which has been subjected “to unfair discrimination” after reunification with Russia in March 2014. It calls on Italy’s government to lift sanctions immediately and restore economic ties with Russia in full.
A member of Veneto’s regional council, one of the authors of the resolution Luciano Sandona, told TASS the document has a deep political meaning: “This is the expression of the position of such an important Italian region as Veneto.”
The Veneto region and its governor Luca Zaia opposed sanctions from the very beginning of tensions in relations with Russia. Zaia, like the majority of the regional council of Veneto, is a representative of the Lega Nord regionalist political party in Italy. Its leader Matteo Salvini has repeatedly voiced support for Russia. In mid-April, the author of the resolution, MP of the regional council in Veneto Stefano Valdegamberi attended an international economic forum in Crimea’s Yalta resort city.
Sandona said the resolution is expected to be backed by both members of the Lega Nord and representatives of the Forza Italia center-right political party in the council. So, the text of the document is likely to be approved, he said.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry comments on vote
Speaking on the upcoming vote in Veneto, Russia’s Foreign Ministry official spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the fact that the resolution has been drafted shows that the policy of anti-Russian sanctions in Europe has ended in a deadlock.
“Both the vote on the resolution in the regional council of Veneto and other political processes such as public opinion polls and a referendum in the Netherlands – all this shows that the process of anti-Russian propaganda in the context of Ukraine has not only come to a dead-end, it also starts unwinding backwards and working against those who launched it. This is just the beginning,” Zakharova told Izvestia newspaper in an interview published on Wednesday.
The diplomat said European countries lost their sovereignty in foreign policy due to such factors as the Syrian crisis, situation in the Middle East and North Africa, US interference into the internal affairs of Ukraine and other European countries. However, Europeans start to understand now that this policy is directed only against Europe, she said.