The gas question is on the table
The source insisted in Brussels that it was an unacceptable initiative, at the height of a crisis “in which Moscow is frightening Ukraine and trying to undermine the foundations of security in Europe”. Opening the meeting, Putin used the gas weapon, warning that Russia is a “reliable supplier of energy for Italian consumers”, and already continues to sell gas to Italy “at prices well below market prices” thanks to long-term contracts with Gazprom.
Sixteen Italian companies exist
According to what the Kremlin leaked, sixteen large Italian companies attended the meeting. Only three surrendered. Neither of them was officially named because, according to spokesman Dmitry Peskov, there was “pressure from one person on another”. One way to quote, without mentioning it, Palazzo Shighi’s intervention was leaked to some media, and at least SOEs were asked not to participate in the initiative. But Peskov spared the diplomatic bonnet, taking care to say that the Russian government had not received any official communication on the matter from the Italian government, and therefore it was not worth looking at the articles in the newspapers, since they were “of no great importance.”
Putin is surrounded by eight ministers from his cabinet
Only one concession was officially announced, that of Eni, while it was not made clear what other splits were within the previously circulated big list, which included among others Enel, Unicredit, Intesa, Generali and Danieli, the steel group that was last week Just. Signing of a €100 million contract with Magnitogorsk Iron Steel Works PJSC (Mmk) for the construction of four furnaces. On the eve of this, the participation of Marco Tronchetti Provera, President of Pirelli and Co-Chair of the Italian-Russian Entrepreneurship Committee, who promoted the initiative in cooperation with the Italian-Russian Chamber of Commerce, headed by Vincenzo Trani, was also announced. The Russian delegation was quite large, with Putin surrounded by eight ministers from the main departments.
Agreements with Moscow on gas supplies: “favorable prices”
The Tsar began by recalling that “Italy is one of Russia’s main economic partners.” And the third is trade in the European Union with a total value of more than 20 billion dollars in the first nine months of 2021 alone, while Italian investments in Russia amounted to 5 billion dollars and Russian investments in Italy 3 billion. But precisely, the head of the Kremlin was insisting on gas supplies precisely, referring to the favorable prices that are exercised thanks to long-term cooperation with Moscow, despite the fact that market prices “significantly increased due to the winter and lack of supply.” Translator: In the absence of these good relations, Italians will find themselves facing higher billing prices than they are today.
Italian-Russian Chamber of Commerce: “Avoid political rhetoric”
In addition, there are interests of more than 500 companies with Italian capital that are active in the Russian market. Despite all the political crises, “life goes on anyway,” Kremlin spokesman Peskov said. Vincenzo Trani, President of the Italian-Russian Chamber of Commerce, echoed what he had said by saying that the “entrepreneurial-economic dialogue between Italy and Russia” was “essential”, and therefore political rhetoric should continue to be “put aside”.
America: Italy is also with us on the sanctions in Moscow A US State Department spokesperson also spoke about the meeting. “The United States is extensively engaged in diplomacy with its allies and partners, including Italy. The United States, the G7, the European Union and NATO have all said that we are united and ready to impose heavy costs on Russia if it invades Ukraine further,” he said.
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