Italy’s far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini was on Thursday, July 4 praised by ROME: Vladimir Putin for having a “welcoming attitude” to Russia, in an interview ahead of a visit to Italy which will consist of talks with the pope and former premier Silvio Berlusconi.
The Russian president’s visit scheduled for Thursday as led to the security lockdown of Rome’s historic Centre with 50 streets blocked to traffic and Italian media reporting that mobile phone signals could be scrambled.
Putin said in an interview with Corriere Della Sera that his United Russia party was working closely with Salvini’s anti-immigration, nationalist League party.
Putin said “The League and its leader Salvini actively support the restoration of full cooperation between Italy and Russia. They are pushing for a rapid abolition of the anti-Russian sanctions introduced by the US and the EU,”
After the annexation of Crime in 2014 and Moscow’s contribution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, The US and EU forced sanctions on Russia.
Putin said he and Salvini had previously met in Milan in 2014 while praising him whose League party topped May’s European elections in Italy.
“Salvini has a welcoming attitude towards our country, and is well informed on the situation in Russia.”
Putin said “We discussed the prospect of developing Italian-Russian ties and relations between Russia and the European Union,”
Salvini had been pictured in pro-Putin T-shirts when he previously visited Moscow.
Putin’s “affection” for Italy’s notorious billionaire ex-four-time prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, recognized for his sex scandals, “bunga bunga” parties, accusations of corruption and conviction for tax fraud was also highlighted.
Putin said “Silvio is a politician of global stature, a true leader who strongly advocates the interests of his country in the international arena,”
Putin also added “We are bound by a friendship stretching back many years,”