Putin and Medvedev to meet Italian PM to discuss economy and Ukrainian issues

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On Thursday the Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to discuss with the Italian PM Matteo Renzi situations in Ukraine, Libya, Syria, the Middle East. Economic issues will be the main subject of talks between Renzi and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev.

Renzi visits Moscow at the invitation of Putin. “This is the first visit of the young Italian leader (as the Head of the Government) to Moscow,” said Putin’s assistant Yuri Ushakov, reminding that last year the President and the PM met twice: in Milan in October and in Brisbane in November. Renzi was sworn on February 22, 2014.

“It is expected that at the meeting Putin and Renzi will address all the key issues of Russian-Italian cooperation, as well as acute international problems. Of course, emphasis will be put on the crisis in Ukraine,” stated Ushakov. On March 4 the Italian PM visited Kiev and met the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko. “Renzi’s position on Ukraine has some peculiarities, and taking into account these peculiarities, we are supposed to hold a very thorough and useful conversation,” admitted the representative of the Kremlin.

According to him, “the Italians expect a detailed exchange of views on Libya, the Middle East, and the Syrian conflict.” The politicians are supposed to discuss the problems of the Islamic State’s terrorist activities. The talks will be held in narrow and extended formats. As soon as the talks are over, Renzi and Putin are expected to deliver statements to the press.

Another meeting is scheduled in the Kremlin. Renzi with Medvedev “will discuss the issues on the bilateral agenda, in particular, trade-economic cooperation, the implementation of joint industrial and high-tech projects, cultural and humanitarian cooperation.”

“Italy has traditionally been one of the most important, closest and reliable partners of Russia in Europe. In the Russian foreign trade Italy is ranked fourth after China, the Netherlands and Germany,” said Ushakov. According to his data, in 2014 the turnover was estimated at $48.4 billion, having decreased by 10% compared with 2013. “The agenda also includes discussion on the prospects of cooperation in the fuel and energy sector. Italy is the second largest buyer (after Germany) of Russian gas in Europe,” said the official, adding that “the volume of Russian gas supply to Italy in 2014 amounted to 21.7 billion cubic meters.”

Text and pictures by TASS