The European Union should put up a shield for Europeans and Italians, protecting them from the blow-back of sanctions on Russia for the Ukraine war. This rather than keeping sanctions on Moscow in place, rightwing League party leader Matteo Salvini said on Monday.
Salvini says that, rather than hurting Russia, the current sanctions are hurting the countries levying them amid spiralling energy costs.
He is calling for the EU to mitigate the effects sanctions are having at home.
“In place of sanctions, which were supposed to hurt the Russians, it would be better to protect the Italians and Europeans with a shield, a parachute,” Salvini said whilst cammpaigning for the general election in Bolzano.
“The only emergency in this moment are electricity and gas bills. It is serious that one side of politics does not understand this,” he said referring primarily to the centre left.
“It is a continental and national problem”.
Jeopardising international credibility
Centre left Democratic Party (PD) leader Enrico Letta has accused Salvini of being “irresponsible”. He said he is jeopardising Italy’s international credibility by calling for a break with allies over sanctions on Russia.
He accused Salvini, who has in the past expressed his admiration for Vladimir Putin, of becoming “pro-Putin” again. Until now, Salvini has backed sanctions against Russia.
Salvini’s main partner in the centre right alliance, Giorgia Meloni of the conservative Brothers of Italy (FdI) party, has assured international observers that a centre right government would stick to the EU and NATO line on sanctions against Putin.
Italian and European power bills have skyrocketed as Moscow periodically turns off gas supplies to Europe.