Russia sanctions renewal, no #Change

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Matteo Salvini’s League had always referred to Russia as a ‘strategic interlocutor‘. But on July 5, 2018, the yellow-green government, at the European Council, approved the renewal of sanctions on Russia. And President Giuseppe Conte, at last week’s NATO summit, renewed devotion to the belligerent Atlantic Alliance. (1) What #Change?

 

EU sanctions on Russia, NATO summit

The sanctions against Russia, initially introduced for one year on July 31, 2014, were introduced by the EU Council following the political instability that occurred in Ukraine. The continuation of these measures-renewed until January 31, 2019-is attributed to the status of implementation of the Minsk agreements.

The goal of demilitarizing the line of contact between Russia and Ukraine–along with the latter’s commitment to enact constitutional reform that would grant broad autonomy to the Lugansk and Donetsk regions–is articulated in 13 points. Which include amnesty for those who participated in the formation of the people’s republics.

The agreement includes., among other things, the immediate bilateral ceasefire, the release of all hostages and illegally detained persons, the adoption of measures to improve the humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine, the removal of illegal armed groups and military equipment, fighters and mercenaries from Russia, and the guarantee of the personal safety of the participants in the negotiations.

The peace process remains unresolved, due to causes that no observer has been able to attribute to any one party. Almost 4 years after the agreement was signed (renewed in February 2015). Yet EU sanctions-in the financial, energy, defense and dual-use goods sectors-are being protracted against Russia alone.

The
Summit
of 29 NATO countries fractured on July 11-12, 2018 in Brussels, where heads of state and government bowed before Donald Trump. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte did not shy away from the rituals, emphasizing Italian participation ‘to confirm its loyalty to the Alliance.’

The Cold War echoed in the summit, where it was agreed to strengthen the NATO military garrison in anti-Russia deployment. Indeed, by 2020 NATO intends to have 30 mechanized battalions, 30 air squadrons and 30 combat ships deployable against Moscow in Europe. (2)

 

Italian relations with Russia, what #Change?



On the campaign trail,


Matteo Salvini promised that he would remove EU sanctions against Russia by

Vladimir Putin
. Taking into account the serious damage to the Italian food supply chain as a result.

The 5 Star Movement had shared the League’s position, including following the March 4, 2018 election. Indeed, the government contract states that ‘it is appropriate to withdraw the sanctions imposed on Russia, to be rehabilitated as a strategic interlocutor for the purpose of resolving regional crises.’

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte himself-in his speech to the House on June 5, 2018-had confirmed the new government’s openness toward Russia and opposition to European sanctions against it. Minister Matteo Salvini, after all, thundered from Libya in late June that ‘Land sanctions against Russia are unnecessary and harmful. We are ready to move from words to deeds (…). But we are alone against the world.’

Italy, however, did not veto it. Nor did it abstain from voting on the renewal of sanctions on Russia. Instead, accepting the related proposal, which followed the report on the non-implementation of the deconflincting agreements signed in Minsk. On the instructions of French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

At the NATO summit after all, the president of the M5S-Lega government expressed full continuity with previous ones. Little does it matter if in the past Grillo wrote ‘With M5S in government NO Italian soldiers on the border with Russia’ and Minister Salvini ‘An anti-Russian folly. Those who rehearse war with Russia are either mad or in bad faith.’



The #Change


, in relations with Russia as in partnership agreements, therefore remains an unknown.

Dario Dongo

Notes

(1) In terms of public finance, Italy contributes 1.2 percent of its GDP to the EU budget. Donald Trump, in his latest European mission, instead proposed that NATO member states increase ‘defense’ spending dedicated to the belligerent Atlantic alliance from 2 percent to 4 percent of their respective GDPs. See http://www.adnkronos.com/fatti/esteri/2018/07/11/nato-trump-agli-alleati-raddoppiate-spese-militari_rJPQF3OFOgzVWMDAqHeRkL.html

(2) An unusual thanksgiving for bringing peace back to Syria after years of siege by armed groups from the West and Saudi Arabia? Certainly the memory of the army that lost the most casualties, in World War II, to liberate Europe from Nazi occupation has been lost

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.