Kremlin says Putin to visit Italy
Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Milan for meetings with Italian officials, the Kremlin said Monday, as tensions over Ukraine continue to roil relations between Moscow and the EU.
Putin will visit the Russian stand at the EXPO exhibition in the northern Italian city and hold talks with Italy's leadership.
"President Putin is preparing to visit Italy," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, Russian news agencies reported.
"There will be meetings with Italian counterparts," Peskov said, without specifying when the visit would take place.
The announcement of Putin's visit to Italy comes as the EU and Moscow are engaged in a diplomatic slanging match over a Russian blacklist banning 89 Europeans from entering the country.
The Russian list is in retaliation for EU sanctions on Moscow over its annexation of Ukraine's Crimea and alleged fuelling of a separatist conflict in its ex-Soviet neighbour.
Many in the EU have been lukewarm on extending the punitive measures over Ukraine, and Russia is hoping that the shaky ceasefire on the ground might lead to some of the sanctions being rolled back.
© 2015 AFP