Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte attend a joint news conference in Rome, Italy July 4, 2019. REUTERS/Yara Nardi

ROME (Reuters) – Russia President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday he hoped Italy would speak out clearly and consistently in favour of restoring fully fledged relations between the European Union and Russia and help persuade Brussels that sanctions on Moscow were a mistake.

Putin, speaking at a news conference after holding talks with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, said Moscow understood that Rome’s room for manoeuvre was limited by various factors, but said he hoped Italy could explain to the EU the damage that the bloc’s sanctions had done.

Putin said he saw no insurmountable obstacles to restoring fully fledged relations between Moscow and Brussels and was ready to play his part if no artificial road blocks were thrown up in Russia’s path.

Reporting by Rome bureau and Andrey Ostroukh in Moscow; Writing by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Hugh Lawson


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