The Government’s views on the situation in Ukraine and sanctions against the Russian Federation


On 13 February 2015, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Paolo Gentiloni Silveri, examined some recent developments in the Ukrainian crisis and took position on the prospects of softening sanctions imposed on the Russian Federation. He stated:

[…] the Italian Government positively takes note of the prospects for constitutional reform, mentioned among the Minsk points, regarding a special status for Ukrainian Eastern regions. Italy also positively looks at the fact that for the first time the Minsk agreement explicitly speaks about constitutional reforms, sets a specific time schedule on the adoption of a new text by the end of 2015, makes reference to a special status for concerned regions, and reiterates the importance of local elections.

He then addressed the thorny issue of the sanctions against the Russian Federation:

Italy has always taken the position that sanctions should be reversible, as well as proportional. Thus, in case of a de-escalation and of peace negotiations, it would be possible to think of a corresponding and gradual softening of sanctions. However, we must be aware that the opposite scenario is also possible so that, once some obligations are formally entered upon, should Russia fail to respect them, it would be inevitable not only to go on, but also to discuss a hardening of sanctions. This is not a prospect that Italy wants to materialize, but I am simply stating that it would be inevitable. We are still talking about, as you know, sanctions rather than providing weapons. The provision of weapons is a choice that we, just as many other European countries, do not deem appropriate. Therefore, the attitude that Europe and NATO will have in the coming months depends on to what extent Russia will keep up with the obligations it entered upon.

The full Italian version can be downloaded here.

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