Putin to meet pope, Italian leaders on one-day visit to Rome

ROME (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin is emphasizing historically strong ties with Italy before a one-day visit to Rome that will include a meeting with Pope Francis.

Putin said in an interview published Friday in Corriere della Sera that “we have a special relationship, tested by time, with Italy.” The Russian president, ahead of his first visit to Italy in four years, said that Moscow didn’t want to extend countermeasures against European Union sanctions to Italy, but that it couldn’t react selectively within the World Trade Organization.

Putin said that economic relations with Italy, Russia’s fifth-largest trading partner, are expanding despite the sanctions, growing by 12.7% in 2018 to 26.9 billion euros ($30.3 billion).

Putin welcomed the populist government’s position that the sanctions should be lifted.

Categories: International News