By the Associated Press
Italy’s populist government is hoping to convince the European Union to lift sanctions against Russia but won’t rule out using its veto if diplomacy fails.
Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said Italy planned to use “good manners, the art of diplomacy, numbers and evidence” to persuade other countries that EU sanctions against Russia were hurting Europe as a whole.
The EU sanctions were extended for another six months last week.
Speaking Monday in Moscow, Salvini said vetoing a further extension of sanctions “doesn’t scare us.” He said: “I don’t exclude anything.”
Italy has vowed to relax sanctions against Russia, which it says has hurt the Italian economy through decreased tourism and exports. Salvini said Monday the Italian economy was losing 7 million euros ($8.2 million) a day thanks to the sanctions.