Italy opposes punitive anti-Russian sanctions
Italy's Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi described the EU anti-Russian sanctions as transitional measure, which shouldn't become a permanent punitive instrument.
"Our Constitution imposes an obligation to act in accordance with international law," he recalled in an interview with the Corriere della Sera newspaper. Therefore, "the sanctions adopted by the EU and NATO, some of which we keep in force," were supported, the Italian Foreign Minister noted. "But we emphasize the need to maintain a constructive dialogue (with Russia)," TASS cited him as saying. We believe that the sanctions "cannot become a permanent punitive instrument," the minister said.
The senior research fellow at the European Research Centre of the International Relations Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladimir Olenchenko, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that despite constant statements against anti-Russian sanctions, Italy does not intend to do anything to lift them. "I think this statement should be regarded as another confirmation of Rome’s position: we do not agree with the sanctions, but we will not violate the bloc discipline," he said.
Vladimir Olenchenko stressed that in order to move from words to action, Europe needs political will. "The EU decision-making mechanism is built on consensus, and it would be enough for one country to raise a hand or show somehow that it does not agree, and the decision will not be made. As a rule, when the sanctions are renewed, we hear a lot that they should be abolished, but no country votes against the extension of sanctions in the end. This indicates a lack of political will and a lack of political independence," the senior research fellow at the European Research Centre of the International Relations Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences drew attention.
Director of the Institute of Strategic Planning and Forecasting, Professor Alexander Gusev, agreed that, despite all the statements of European countries, they still remain under the strong influence of the United States' political will. "Europe, unfortunately, is not an independent player. European leaders are largely affiliated with the United States, primarily with American business. Therefore, the Italian Foreign Minister's statements should be viewed as a kind of PR of the Italian government, which, alas, means absolutely nothing," he said.
"We constantly hear Angela Merkel saying that Russia is a strategic partner of Germany, that they are building Nord Stream 2 and that they need to look towards Russia - but in a day she takes the opposite decision. Sanctions will not be lifted soon, not even in 5-10 years, they have already become the norm in relation to our country. The whole situation around Crimea, the Donbass and Ukraine is perceived from a completely different angle in Europe and the U.S., which is why many Europeans believe that Russia is an aggressor country planning to attack the Baltic countries, which means that it is necessary to strengthen NATO's positions in Europe. Therefore, it is impossible to talk about any positive development so far," Alexander Gusev concluded.