Italy denounces threats from Russia against it for its support for sanctions

Alexei Paramonov, director of the European department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, accused Italy, in an interview with the Russian public agency RIA-Novosti, of succumbing to an “anti-Russian hysteria” and of forgetting “in a second” centuries of bilateral relations and agreements.

He added that he hoped the promise made earlier this month by French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire – who later backtracked – of a “total economic and financial war” against Russia would not “create emulation in Italy and lead to a series of irreversible consequences”.

The Italian Foreign Ministry said it “firmly rejects these threatening statements” from the Russian side, and assured that Rome and its European partners would “continue to exert maximum pressure” on Russia to stop the military intervention against Ukraine.

The Russian official also recalled that Russia had provided “significant” assistance to Italy at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, according to him at the request of Defense Minister Lorenzo Guerini.

This minister was among the main “instigators of the anti-Russian campaign” within the Italian government, according to him.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi described as “particularly odious and unacceptable” the comparison “between the invasion of Ukraine and the pandemic crisis in Italy”.

As for Mr. Guerini, he declared that Italy would not “play the game of propaganda” and would continue to stand by the side of Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is due to address the Italian parliament by videoconference from kyiv on Tuesday.

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