Sanctions on Russia and curbs on gas: the United States is opening up to Italy

“Even Italy is undeniable that it has its own concerns, we all do, it’s part of that process.” Kamala Harris, the second-in-command in the White House, admits, pragmatically, that there can be no sanctions against a Moscow that has been studied in one capital and suffers before another. Therefore, the doubts expressed by Prime Minister Mario Draghi about the imposition of sanctions on the Russian energy sector find “citizenship” in Monaco without taking into account that Italy’s dependence on Russian gas is greater than that of many European countries. The US vice president added that Italy is very present in the talks on how to move forward to achieve the goal of dissuading Russia from the invasion.


The Italian “presence”, which could materialize over the weekend in a Draghi meeting in Moscow with Vladimir Putin. The Russian president has requested it, but there is still no definite date on the agenda and Rome is proceeding with caution to avoid exploitation. In recent days, it was Putin himself who reassured Draghi about gas supplies, but if Moscow’s goal was to open a corridor between allies, it failed because, as Draghi noted, “the compression of the West is out of the question.” Italy, like France and Germany, continues to work to keep the diplomatic gap open in the belief that only the start of implementation of the Minsk Accords can ease the tension. This will also be discussed during the phone call that the US President planned with Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Schulz to assess the situation, after the phone call that the French President had with the Kremlin.

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On the third and final day of the Munich Security Conference, the annual meeting of the elite of interplanetary diplomacy, transatlantic harmony on the package with which the West wants to dissuade Vladimir Putin from aggression, is being organized. “We have implemented massive sanctions, if not the most severe, ever, against the Russian economy and its government,” he said, but for now “we still believe in their deterrent effect” to discourage Moscow from an attack in Ukraine. Vice President Kamala Harris, while European Council President Charles Michel confirmed that the EU will discuss punitive measures without delay during an extraordinary summit.

But differences remain over timing (and the nature of penalties). Yesterday, Ukraine again put pressure on the accelerator and demanded preventive sanctions: “Russia must be stopped now. It’s work time. “We see how things are developing,” said Kiev Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who insists on preventive measures. A message that Kuleba will bring to Brussels again this morning, as the 27 foreign ministers gather for a new discussion on the escalation to the east and on the package that the European Commission is finalizing in consultation with member states and in harmony with the US Treasury: from suspension to visas and freezing Offshore current accounts and assets of an institution close to Putin has led to a ban on transactions with major Russian credit institutions (but one of the most radical options to date may include excluding Moscow from the Swift international payment system), from an indefinite halt to the revitalization of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Even banned the export of technical components produced in Europe.

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The impact on companies doing business with Russia will be significant and concern about energy supplies high, given that the EU relies on Moscow for 40% of its demand, especially at a point when gas prices are already rising: “Sanctions will also severely hurt our economy, and this is also clear for German companies. ”, Berlin Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck admitted yesterday. So much so that the EU diplomats, led by Italy, are working to protect the countries most at risk, like our state, and the most vulnerable sectors, from welfare to energy, from the consequences. Concerns are clearly present in communications in these hours.

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