Putin to visit Italy on Wednesday seeking dialogue

(AGI) Rome, June 9 - Following the G7 Summit in the BavarianAlps and its echoes of the Cold War with Barack Obama and theleaders of the G7 countries warning Russia of the possibilityof further sanctions, Vladimir Putin will be in Italy onWednesday to visit Milan and Rome in an attempt to break hisinternational isolation. The Russian president will beaccompanied by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to Milan Expo, wherehe will visit the Russian pavilion and inaugurate the daydedicated to his country. In the afternoon he will travel toRome, where he will be

(AGI) Rome, June 9 - Following the G7 Summit in the BavarianAlps and its echoes of the Cold War with Barack Obama and theleaders of the G7 countries warning Russia of the possibilityof further sanctions, Vladimir Putin will be in Italy onWednesday to visit Milan and Rome in an attempt to break hisinternational isolation. The Russian president will beaccompanied by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to Milan Expo, wherehe will visit the Russian pavilion and inaugurate the daydedicated to his country. In the afternoon he will travel toRome, where he will be received at the Quirinale palace byPresident Sergio Mattarella, and then to the Vatican for anaudience with Pope Francis, which will also address theUkrainian crisis. The Holy See wants to avoid any wideningof the rift between Moscow and the West, at a time when Russiamay provide a crucial contribution in the fight against radicaland fundamentalist fringes in the Middle East. The pontiff mayraise the issue of the activities of the Uniates in Ukraine,the Greek Catholics who are loyal to the Pope but practise theOrthodox rite. The meeting in Milan between Renzi and Putinis the second this year after the visit of the Italian primeminister to Moscow on Mar. 5. President Putin will also see his"friend" Silvio Berlusconi on Wednesday evening, the Kremlinannounced, just as he previously did last October on thesidelines of the ASEM summit in Milan. The visit to Italycomes after the quarrel between the U.S. and Russia around theG7 Summit, with Barack Obama verbally attacking the Russianleader: "Does he continue to wreck his country's economy andcontinue Russia's isolation in pursuit of a wrong-headed desireto recreate the glories of the Soviet empire? Or does herecognise that Russia's greatness does not depend on violatingthe territorial integrity and sovereignty of other countries?"asked the US leader. "We reserve the right to respondaccordingly to all unfriendly U.S. initiatives", retortedMoscow. Claudio Descalzi, CEO of Italian oil and gas giantEni, addressing a conference of the Italian Institute forInternational Political Studies (IPSI) in Milan, said that ifthe situation in Russia were to really become more extreme thanat present, then "we need alternatives for energy security". MrDescalzi then added that he did not believe that Italy could dowithout Russia from a commercial point of view "for the nextfive or six years". . .