'Putin's Russia is Europe's Main Ally in Fight Against Extremism'

© AFP 2023 / TIZIANA FABIMatteo Salvini
Matteo Salvini - Sputnik International
Matteo Salivini, leader of Italian opposition Lega Nord party, told Sputnik on Friday that the extension of the European Union's anti-Russian sanctions was "absurd," since the restrictive measures were damaging for the economies of both Italy and the entire 28-member-bloc.

ROME (Sputnik) — On Thursday, EU leaders agreed to prolong their 2014 economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy over the lack of progress in the implementation of the Minsk accords on Ukrainian settlement.

"The sanctions against Russia were an insanity back in 2014, when they had been designed. Today, they have become even more absurd and [they] hit the European and Italian economy. The European Union works against its peoples and servers for the interests of the global economic lobby," Salvini said.

Salvini added that his party would continue opposing the "absurd sanctions," pledging that the restrictions would be eliminated as soon as Lega Nord came into power.

"President [Vladimir] Putin's Russia is Europe's main ally in the fight against the Islamic extremism. Those geniuses from the European Union seem to be nostalgic about the Cold War," the politician pointed out.

Lega Nord has repeatedly called for the lifting of the EU anti-Russian sanctions.

US Senate building - Sputnik International
'Sanctions Go to Those Areas Where Russia Exceeds and the US is in Trouble'
In March 2015, the European Council agreed to link the duration of the sanctions to the implementation of the Minsk agreements on the ceasefire in Donbass. In December 2016, the Council of the European Union prolonged the economic sanction regime until July 31, 2017.

Moscow has repeatedly claimed it was counterproductive to correlate the anti-Russia sanctions with the fulfillment of the Minsk agreements, since Russia was not a party to the conflict between Kiev troops and Donbass forces, who had refused to recognize the government installed in the country in 2014 following a violent coup.

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