"We have always thought that sanctions are senseless but it is in our interests to strengthen relations with Russia," Zaia said. "Our companies are experiencing losses of about 500 million euros this year."
The stance of Italy’s government supporting the sanctions is absurd and those in the country who are seeking to improve relationship with Russia express their serious protest against this policy, the governor said.
"Our business people await concrete political answers from us while debatable issues like Crimea’s territorial subordination can be solved with other tools but not with sanctions," Zaia said.
"Crimea will have to be recognised as part of Russia, the question is how long it will take," he said.
Padua’s Mayor Massimo Bitonci told a TASS correspondent that his city was ready to promote commercial, tourist and cultural ties with Crimea and first contacts with the Black Sea peninsula’s authorities had already taken place.
On March 20 Milan hosts the conference titled Russia and Crimea. Opportunities for Italian Business organised by the Lombardy-Russia Association. Crimea’s governmental officials and Italian business people are expected to participate.