Wednesday, August 24, 2016


What's Behind Italy's Step Back On Extending Sanctions Against Russia?

Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) meets with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi during the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey, on November 16.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) meets with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi during the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey, on November 16.
By Rikard Jozwiak

BRUSSELS -- It was supposed to be a done deal: European Union envoys had been expected to approve a six-month extension of sanctions against Russia over its interference in Ukraine, as agreed by EU leaders last month.

But the Italian ambassador upended that plan at a meeting on December 9, telling the others that Rome wanted more debate on the matter.

A high-ranking EU diplomat told RFE/RL that EU ambassadors would not discuss the sanctions at their December 10 meeting. That means the issue is unlikely to be resolved this week, dragging the discussion closer to an EU summit on December 17-18, the holiday recess, and the January 31 deadline for a final agreement to prolong the sanctions through July 31, 2016.

So far only Rome has spoken out, but diplomats suspect countries such as Hungary, Austria, Greece, and Cyprus may be in the same camp.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was among the leaders who agreed on the sanctions extension at a meeting on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Turkey on November 16 -- so why the unexpected change of heart?

EU sources say that Renzi may have been driven by one of the following motives, or a combination of all three:

1. He wants to put pressure on EU member states from the east to be more helpful on another crucial issue facing the 28-member grouping -- migrants -- in the run-up to the EU summit next week.

2. He wants to show the Italian business community and Russia -- whose foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, is visiting Italy on December 10-11 -- that he is fighting to the end, not just giving in to the EU majority.

3. He dislikes European Council President Donald Tusk and wants to annoy him, knowing that the former Polish prime minister cares deeply about the issue and is determined to keep sanctions against Russia in place.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Anonymous from: Italy
December 10, 2015 18:22
Italy is losing many many money with this useless sanctions
In Response

by: nameless from: america
December 12, 2015 05:50
The sanctions are NOT useless. Open up your eyes! If the sanctions were not biting Russia hard then why does Russia want the sanctions stopped? Russia is trying to get the sanctions stopped because Russia is really starting to feel the bite from the sanctions. If we keep the sanctions on another 12 - 18 months plus if oil will go to $20 per barrel and stay at $20 per barrel then Russia will go bankrupt and this is good because the only time Russia isn't invading and harassing other countries is when Russia is poor. The last time Russia financially caved in Russia left other countries alone because Russia was focused on finding food and money. As soon as Russia got money Russia started bullying other nations. We need to bankrupt Russia and leave Russia bankrupt for the same of the world. When Russia has money no other country is safe. So let's bankrupt Russia. It will take another 12 - 18 months of sanctions and $20 a barrel oil and then Russia will be destitute and Russia will then focus on food and solvency rather than bullying other nations.
In Response

by: John
December 13, 2015 08:06
You're delusional and filled with hate.
In Response

by: Louis
December 13, 2015 20:56
It makes sense; but it sounds so simplistic? Need to hear more; or is this it?
In Response

by: zekhong from: new york
December 15, 2015 00:29
I can't see logic of this comment.Let them decide themselve.EU States should not be Puppets of any interest.They should be for the best interest of their own citizens.
In Response

by: Oksana from: Ukraine
December 13, 2015 00:58
What will you tell when Austria decides to take part of Italy in the north. Once upon a time it was its territory )))
In Response

by: zekhong from: new york
December 15, 2015 00:21
However northern italy is not mainly inhibited by Austrians and Crimea is full of Russians.I wonder non European Turkey occupied cyprus with its Army and there is no sanction on Turkey?

by: Mike
December 10, 2015 21:39
We all know that Ukrainian revolution was not a social revolution but organised overthrow of a legal government but political parties unable to win elections with foreign help
In Response

by: Steve
December 10, 2015 23:45
Agreed--We all know that this is exactly how the DNR and LNR were formed.
In Response

by: David from: Ukraine
December 11, 2015 09:09
"We" all know? What you know is what putin tells you to know...brainwashed idiot!
In Response

by: Richard from: New Zealand
December 11, 2015 23:04
Its common knowledge that it was a regime change, instigated and supported by USA, Nato, Eu.........just like what happened in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya etc. Look at history, the world wars starts in the west and will start again in Europe. The work of NATO and Europe is to start conflicts, directed by the military industrial complex of the usa.
In Response

by: Robert Drake
December 12, 2015 23:09
The theft of 10% of Ukraine's GDP by Yanukovich and his associates, and the bankrupting of the country after emptying the Treasury of even the loan he obligated rather than trade transparently with Europe (as well as encouraging the GRU plan to slaughter dissenters on the Maidan) is neither legitimate OR elected... and Russian lackeys have no balls and no freedom anyways, or they would have found a way to support the Maidan and honestly *voted* in Krim (Crimea) rather than stole it...
In Response

by: Oksana from: Ukraine
December 13, 2015 01:00
Really? do you know that for sure? I suppose you have organized that then?
If not then you know nothing. You don't live here in Ukraine, and you can make conclusions just reading newspapers or watching TV. And that's illusion.

by: volodymyr
December 11, 2015 04:55
Only sanctions can prevent next agression steps of Putin

by: Fred from: Paris
December 11, 2015 07:08
Also in France people want to end the sanctions: both the centre-right and extreme right, which represent 60% of the French, want to end them.

by: Lars from: Moscow
December 11, 2015 10:33
The reason might be several except the ones listed in the article:

1,It´s clear for everybodu that one gangster regme was replaced by another one so why take part for one side?

2, As more and more understands my first point,more country willnot support Ukraine financial, it will lead to bankruptcy sooner or later.
We can like it or not but Russian and Ukrainian economies are linked in so many ways. So a week Russian economy will lad to weak Ukrainian economy so best way to help the "normal" citizen of Ukraine is NOT to punish Russian economy.
In Response

by: Russell Dee from: America
December 12, 2015 05:56
The best way to help Ukraine is to keep the sanctions on Russia and lower the price of oil to $20 per barrel. Plus maybe even kick Russia out of SWIFT. You see, the world needs Russia to be bankrupt and destitute since Russia was peaceful when Russia was bankrupt and destitute. When Russia is poor Russia focuses on getting food and finding warmth and sustenance and stuff like that. And when Russia's poor she doesn't bully or harass other nations. But when Russia has money Russia starts bullying other nations and causing trouble. If you want to help Ukraine and protect Ukraine's freedom from Russian tyranny then keep the sanctions on Russia because sanctions and low oil prices will make Russia poor and destitute and then Russia will stop harassing Ukraine because Russia will be focused on finding food.
In Response

by: Oksana from: Ukraine
December 13, 2015 01:05
Forget about Ukraine. It's not your business.
I suppose Russia doesn't have any problems and no gangster regime? No corruption? What's Putin's regime?
Better to punish Russia in a such way that it would forget for centuries about its neighbours.
The only thing Russia can do is to make war with neighbours - Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine. You even can't keep Turkey close to you.
In Response

by: Dagfinn A. Mork
December 13, 2015 03:26
The Russian economy is declining while the Ukraine economy stopped declining and will grow next year.
The financial and evonomical tirs between the two dimishes for each month passed.
In Ukraine there are reforms taking place, even not as diligently as many of its people want but the direction is crystal clear - away from being a crippled nation by Russia.

by: Elena
December 11, 2015 14:11
Well done Italy! I am proud. Putin is a leader who is doing the right thing for his country, for Europe and Humanity.
In Response

by: Terry from: Delaware, DE
December 17, 2015 05:24
Putin is a KGB re-tread keeping his cronies employed with bribes, state contracts and outright theft. If that is good for Russia and Europe, then both are in a sorrier state than is currently obvious.

by: Dagfinn A. Mork
December 13, 2015 03:36
There is nothing human about violating internatinal treaties, take away the last few freedoms the Russian people have, cheat on polls and silence all oppositons with brutality.
The Italian politician is a human without a spine and little decency.
Rule based on law equal to all an genuine democracy does not come without a cost - on Ukraime they know that and sacrifice with blood and hardship - about time Italy and others also took a lesson from Ukraine that slowly is forming its own future and guard us against centuriy old bullying politics.

Take a look at the figures, the sanctions work and is the price we all have to pay, if not to have so much worse a future with a Russian tyrrany.
In Response

by: gra from: Italy
December 15, 2015 16:16
Sanctions doesn't make any sense because this is not a Russian game: is a US game were we as Europeans are involved without any reason, except probably to sustain the next president's elections...
I don't have the feel you have. The first Bush Administration promise to Gorbachev there would be “not an inch” of NATO expansion. Why to push so hard in Ukraine? And what to say about Crimea (US interests in Crimea... rhetorical question...)? (please, look also to all the contradictions in the US foreign politic in the last 5 years...)
If here there is a bull, he is not Putin... And I can understand a country that see borders and interests under pressure by someone that under the flag of the 'humanity' doesn't respect agreements...
For the first time in years Italy is doing the right choice, also if a bit late.
In Response

by: Marvin from: USA
December 17, 2015 03:50
gra from Italy and all you other losers who are nothing but followers like sheep. Keep doing as you are told by former communist countries and their spineless leaders who rule with a iron fist. Ukraine is on the road to being independent and I am happy for them. America had its revolution and won and now we are a power to be respected with enough fire power to take on all you corrupt countries who keep your people in the sewer and feed them garbage. It is time for Italy and Russia and their leaders to go back to their holes and be nothing but a pimple on someones ass. You people make me sick. You hate it when someone fights for freedom from repression like Ukraine has done.

by: Terry from: Delaware, USA
December 17, 2015 05:04
This comment area is filled with Putin's trolls. Support Free Ukraine and a Free Russia liberated from the tyranny of former KGB thugs. Too bad so many Europeans lack the will and guts to defend their liberties and that of the people to their east.

by: gra from: Italy
December 17, 2015 09:03
Dear guys, look around you. World changed time ago, and you can look to be extinct still thinking as in the '70 or adapt to changes.
And please, never, and I repeat never, be confused between ethic and money. Listen to your leaders and try to understand what they are not saying to you: this can ensure you a better life and not so hard surprises.
Please, leave words as 'freedom' out of this topic: it's jarring...

by: Luciano Pavia
December 19, 2015 04:01
At Last an Italian Prime Minister with brains and guts to match
Lifting sanctions against Russia is a smart move and it will help not only Italy but all European Countries

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