The anti-Russian sanctions are harmful for Italy, Europe and Russia, and they should be removed, Italian senator, Pier Ferdinando Casini said in a Friday interview with La Stampa.


Pier Ferdinando Casini


“We should say openly, unlike the Baltic States, we do not feel any nostalgia for the Cold War,” he declared. “We should follow a line for cooperation between Russia and NATO.”


“The sanctions, which are harmful both for us and for them, should be removed,” he added.


The lawmaker stressed that implementing the Minsk agreements depends not only on Russia, but also on Ukraine.


“The Ukrainian authorities have demonstrated they cannot be trusted,” he said. “Ukraine is a bridge between Russia and Europe, but still not Europe; and the opinion Russia is taking Ukraine from Europeans is absolutely wrong.”


The West should spell out its priorities on the international arena at the moment and what sparks realistic threats. “Those are neither (Tayyip) Erdogan, nor (Vladimir) Putin,” the Italian senator stated.


Reconciliation between Moscow and Ankara, he continued, does not threaten Europe.


“We should be happy about it,” he said. “Without cooperation between Russia and Turkey it is impossible to defeat the Islamic State (terrorist organization outlawed in Russia) or to settle the Syrian crisis.”


In 2014, the European Union introduced sanctions against Russia, prolonging them later on, after the turmoil in Ukraine and following Crimea’s integration with Russia. The EU suspended negotiations on establishing a visa-free regime and on a new basic agreement on cooperation. Similarly, they banned Russian officials from entering the EU and froze their assets, announced limitations in trade, financial and military spheres. The sanctions lists contain 151 names and 37 companies, with the sectoral ones imposed against 20 Russian financial, oil-producing and defense companies.