Discussion between Italian companies and Putin causes criticism
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ROME/MOSKAU (dpa-AFX) – Amidst serious tensions between Russia and the West, a video conference by Italian companies with President Vladimir Putin has caused a stir. The exchange on Wednesday has “nothing to do with the current situation, nothing to do with any sanctions,” the Kremlin in Moscow clarified. Nevertheless, there was criticism in Italy of the talks, which sent the wrong signal, as criticized by members of the parliamentary control body for the secret services (Copasir). The Ansa news agency reported that the conversation was described as “strange”.
According to reports, Rome tried to convince the organizers to cancel the video switch. In addition, those companies in which the Italian state is a shareholder were asked not to participate. In government circles in Rome it was stressed that the meeting was a private initiative and that neither government representatives nor diplomats took part.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov spoke of 16 companies attending the meeting; three companies apologized. The energy company Eni (ENI share)
In the video conversation, Putin described Italy as a leading economic partner. “We are pleased to note that our countries have managed to maintain cooperation on the economic level at a fairly high level,” the head of state said, according to the Kremlin.
In the current energy crisis, Italian companies also paid significantly lower prices for Russian gas than usual thanks to long-term contracts, Putin claimed, according to the Tass agency. The sharp rise in gas costs is also a hot topic in Italy and is putting pressure on the government./msw/DP/ngu
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