Kremlin praises Italy’s Renzi for boosting bilateral ties

Kremlin praises Italy's Renzi for boosting bilateral ties
Renzi with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo: Olga Maltseva/AFP
The Kremlin on Monday heaped praise on outgoing Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, hailing him as a promoter of "active dialogue" whose role in boosting bilateral ties was hard to overstate.

“His role in the development of Russian-Italian relations, even in the hard times in the past few years, is difficult to overestimate,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

“He truly was an advocate of constructive, active dialogue on the highest level between the countries – not just in protocol terms, but in substance – involving the discussion and resolution of concrete cooperation issues.”

Renzi announced his resignation on Monday hours after suffering a crushing defeat in a referendum on constitutional reform.

Peskov said the referendum was a “purely internal affair for Italy” and Moscow “did not have the right” to comment on the outcome.

The defeat and Renzi's departure threaten to plunge Italy into a new phase of political uncertainty and possible economic turmoil.

Italy last year appeared to drag its heels on backing a renewal of European Union sanctions on Russia over Ukraine, briefly delaying a decision to extend the punitive measures before it was officially approved by the 28-nation bloc.

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