Spallazani’s study – not authorized by AIFA and funded by Russia – which would demonstrate how the Sputnik vaccine is the most effective of all against Omicron, is just one of the pieces that serve to understand how close is the link between Putin’s Russia and Italy. This is why the meeting – via video conference – between the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and large Italian companies has become a diplomatic case. On the one hand, the economic relations between Moscow and Rome are such as to prevent a break between the two countries, unless you want to risk remaining “in the cold and freezing” as the leader of the League, Matteo Salvini, warns; but on the other hand, one cannot fail to note that the meeting was organized just as the West is mobilizing to prevent any action by Moscow against Ukraine.
A message reiterated by Washington with a note from the State Department: «The United States is widely engaged in diplomacy with its allies and partners, including Italy. The US, the G7, the EU and NATO have all said that we are united and ready to impose severe costs on Russia if it invades Ukraine further ”. And on the other hand, the Italian government had also tried to exercise a sort of moral suasion on the managers of the companies so that they did not participate in the meeting.
An appeal that fell on deaf ears also because Putin himself underlined the importance of the links between the Russian energy industry and Italy. Also because the energy problem is proving to be the Achilles heel of the European Union with the price of gas that has pushed the bills of businesses and households to the stars. And with Russia guaranteeing the Old Continent a third of its needs, the situation risks further precipitating. A share that rises to 40% in the case of Italy.
“I would like to underline that we consider Italy as one of our main economic partners”, he began, recalling how Italian companies still benefit from fares below market prices thanks to a long-term agreement with Gazprom. Moscow is also particularly satisfied with the cooperation with Italian banks on important projects such as the Yamal and Arctic gas pipelines.
The meeting was described as “friendly and constructive”. “Putin has never talked about Ukraine or Italian politics,” said the president of the Italy-Russia Chamber of Commerce, VincenzoTrani. Just today, for example, Maire Tecnimont announced that it has won a $ 1.1 billion contract with Russia’s Rosneft. The meeting was attended by Enel, Intesa Sanpaolo, Unicredit and Generali, among others, while Eni was not there.
And if there was no government involvement on the part of Italy, some ministers participated in Moscow as well as Putin, such as Igor Sechin, Rosneft’s number one, and Dmitry Konov, at the top of Sibur petrochemicals.
Italy is Russia’s fifth trading partner with a 44% increase in trade in the first nine months of last year. Putin also recalled that about 500 Italian companies have operated in Russia in sectors ranging from energy to steel to banks with investments of 5 billion dollars.