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Moscow continues to persecute opponents - Tajani on Volkov

Moscow continues to persecute opponents - Tajani on Volkov

Something really serious has happened adds foreign minister

ROME, 14 March 2024, 13:58

ANSA English Desk



Italian Foreign Minister and Deputy Premier Antonio Tajani on Thursday condemned Tuesday's "serious" attack in Lithuania against Leonid Volkov, a former close aide to late Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny, saying it is evidence that Moscow continues to persecute political opponents.
    "We are aware of the situation in Russia, so there is little to comment," said Tajani on the sidelines of the conference 'The new slavery - Conference on trafficking' at the Italian Embassy to the Holy See.
    "Something really serious has happened with the death of Navalny and the aggression of his closest aide," he continued, adding that he had seen Volkov recently in Brussels together with Navalny's wife. "It is proof that Russia continues to persecute those who oppose the regime and this can only deserve our condemnation," said Tajani. On Tuesday Volkov, 43, was attacked with hammer blows outside his home in Vilnius.
    "Someone smashed the car window, sprayed him with pepper spray and beaten with a hammer," said Navalny's spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh, quoted by various media outlets.
    On Italy's participation in the EU Aspides mission to protect Red Sea shipping from attacks by Yemen-based Houthis, Tajani denied that the country is at war.
    "Italy is not at war" with the Houthis, "we are against war" and "when there are terrorist attacks by an organisation that is not a state, one is not at war, one is protecting one's own merchant traffic", said Tajani.
    On a recent media investigation into arms exports to Israel based on ISTAT data, the minister said that after the Hamas attacks on October 7 "Italy blocked the contracts for the sale of weapons to Israel".
    This "has also been recognised internationally", he added.
    Since then, "there may have been fulfilment of old contracts, but none of the items exported under contracts signed prior to October 7 could be used in Gaza". he added.
    "We are a model for compliance," concluded Tajani.


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