Member of an Italian delegation that has arrived in Crimea and President of the Regional Council of the Veneto region, Roberto Ciambetti, has described the sanctions imposed by the European Union against Russia as a thing of the past.
“We believe that the sanctions (against Russia – TASS) are an 18th-century mode of action, while we are in today’s world,” he told reporters.
For her part, member of the Executive Council of the city of Padua, Marina Buffoni, noted that the members of the Italian delegation fully support the results of the Crimea referendum held in March 2014 and believe the peninsula’s residents have the right to self-determination. “We absolutely support the referendum in Crimea, the voting was peaceful. The EU should take the referendum’s results for granted,” she said.
“Our visit is not directed against anyone. Its aim is to establish a dialogue. Every nation has the right to self-determination,” Buffoni added.
On Friday, members of the Italian delegation will meet with the Crimean authorities and sign an agreement on sister city relations between Simferopol and Padua. According to Buffoni, these cities have similar history and culture, and the signing of this agreement will promote the development of economic ties.
Meanwhile, member of the regional parliament of Veneto, Stefano Valdegamberi, told Crimean journalists that the Italians’ visit “is a protest against the wrong policy of the EU.” “We believe that the people in Europe disagree with this policy,” he noted. The parliamentarian recalled that Italy’s damage from anti-Russian sanctions is estimated at 4 billion euros.
The delegation of MPs and businessmen comes from five Italian regions – Veneto, Liguria, Lombardy, Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna. During the visit, its members plan to discuss with Crimea’s authorities and business community the issues of cooperation and the prospects of lifting the Western sanctions. The regional parliaments of these regions passed resolutions earlier this year calling to recognize Crimea and cancel sanctions against Russia.