The anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the EU go both ways and hurt not only Moscow, but the bloc itself, Russian president has said, adding that he sees no “insurmountable obstacles” to fix the bilateral relations.
The restrictions, imposed on Moscow by the EU over the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, have been quite damaging to trade – turnover dropped from $450 billion in 2013 to some $279 billion now, Vladimir Putin said on Thursday at a joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
Where did those billions go? I’ll tell you – it’s profits not received by us, as well as by European countries, including Italy.
Russia is ready to “do its part” in fixing the relations with the EU, but it’s up to the bloc’s new leadership to show it wants it as well, Putin said, when asked for his opinion on the new head of the European Commission German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyden.
Italy’s PM Conte, on his part, said that Rome has always been against anti-Russian sanctions, adding that he always felt “sadness” over them. The EU has recently upset Conte once again, extending the restrictions for another six months.
“We believe that sanctions are not the goal. Italy is working to create the prerequisites for overcoming this state of relations between Italy and Russia, the EU and Russia. No one benefits from such a situation,” Conte said.
At the same time, the Italian PM said that the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, raging in the eastern part of the country after the 2014 coup in Kiev, must be resolved as soon as possible. The Russian President, replied that such calls should be addressed to Kiev, which has so far failed to stick to the existing peace plan – the Minsk agreements, – while Moscow is not even a side in that conflict.
“Why do you never ask our Ukrainian partners: when will you do it? Shall I issue a decree? What would that do?” Putin said.
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