When the lessons of history have not been taken into account, it after having made an evolutionary cycle, is repeated, and for poor students it is like a deja vu. Having failed to learn the lesson of the Second World War, which said that keeping bad company may lead to sad outcomes, Italy continues triggering a backflash of collaboration with the aggressor – it seems like the defeat in the WWII has not taught the Italians anything.
Italy, despite the direct prohibition of weapons and military equipment supplies, continues delivering their latest armoured vehicles to the Russian Ministry of Defence, which the latter actively deploys for its aggression in Syria. And this is a clear violation of the EU sanctions and, what is more important, the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports, which directly prohibits export of arms and military equipment to a country participating in a military conflict.
The purchase contract for 350 latest Italian LMV "Lynx" armoured vehicles was concluded between Russia and Italy in 2011. 10 vehicles were delivered off the shelf, others started to be assembled from Italian parts at OJSC 172 Central Automobile Repair Plant in Voronezh and at Remdiesel Ltd. in Naberezhnye Chelny.
The documents accompanying the implementation of the Russian-Italian contract for delivery of Iveco LMV "Lynx" clearly show that the work did not stop for a single day. Particularly, in 2014 Italy exported vehicle assembly sets to Russia for 81 vehicles, in 2015 – for 93 vehicles. All in all, the revised production program for 2015-2016 provides for production of 356 Italian armoured vehicles in Russia. An interesting fact: the ultimate recipient of all vehicles to be produced in 2015-2016 is military unit 48670, Kamensk-Shakhtinsky, Rostov Region (91th central base of motor vehicle reserve). Obviously, in order to be sent to Russian troops occupying the Donbass. By the way, Iveco LMV "Lynx" have been already noticed in Syria both as a part of the Russian group and as a part of Syrian government troops. At that, no protests have been heard from Italy on the fact of Russian deliveries of Italian armoured vehicles to the Assad regime.
Moreover, the Italian party does not hesitate to trade with one of the main sponsors of the Putin regime and wars in Ukraine and Syria – the oil monopolist "Rosneft". In particular, on December 29, 2014 JSC "NK" Rosneft ", State Corporation "Rostekh" and a subsidiary of Italian group Finmeccanica - AgustaWestland S.p.A., signed a tripartite agreement on strategic partnership. Within its framework it was decided to establish a joint venture for the production of AW189 helicopters on the basis of the HeliVert plant near Moscow – a joint venture of "Russian Helicopters" holding company and AgustaWestland S.p.A.
The contract conditions for the binding 50-percent level of production localization of AW189 multi-purpose twin-engine helicopters in Russia. In addition, in July 2015, it was reported that "Rosneft" and AgustaWestland S.p.A. signed an agreement for the supply of ten AW189 helicopters to "RN-Aerokraft" Russian company in 2015-2017 for approximately € 160 million. All in all, up to 2025 HeliVert plans to produce and deliver 160 machines of this type to "Rosneft". (http://bmpd.livejournal.com/1670283.html)
The fact that this contract is extremely important for the Russian party was mentioned by Mikhail Leontyev, Rosneft Vice-President for PR. "We need these helicopters, as the domestic machines are not fit for offshore oil exploration. We have a powerful helicopter-building industry in Russia, but some niches have not been filled in yet. And Rosneft cannot wait till Russian designers are able to produce such machines, it will cost Rosneft much. These machines are specifically "tailored" for offshore exploration, and Rosneft has great plans of offshore development, especially in the Arctic. For the Russian economy this technology will give tremendous results!" said he. (http://nsn.fm/economy/rosneft-inostrannye-vertolyety-posluzhat-razvitiyu-rossiyskoy-ekonomiki.php)
Surely, it might be said that these helicopters are civil ones and Rosneft, as well as another sponsor of Russian aggression, Gazprom, are not subject to sanctions and trading with them does not violate any law. However, a joint venture means at least the transfer of such important for Russia technologies, and the co-operation with the aggressor raises the question of the moral qualities of European producers.
Moreover, the same Finmeccanica group, for example, will sponsor the largest in Russia helicopter exhibition HELIRUSSIA-2016, where it will also present AW169 helicopter, a novelty of the salon, as well as a new modification of H135 helicopter, to potential Russian customers. (http://vpk-news.ru/articles/30202)
Besides, there is information on the joint Italian-Russian venture (with the participation of "Rosoboronexport") to promote Yak-130 combat training aircraft in the international arms markets. (http://minpromtorg.gov.ru/press-centre/news/#!denis_manturov_obsudil_perspektivy_sotrudnichestva_v_aviaprome_s_finmeccanica)
Given the above, there's small wonder that the web site of the Italian Ministry of Defence does not mention a single word of the sanctions or restrictions of MTC between the two countries because of them. According to the information on the site, nowadays "there are numerous industrial partnerships between Italy and Russia in the aviation industry, with signed "technical agreements" between Italian and Russian companies in the sphere of satellite communications, satellite navigation, space industry, electronic warfare and air traffic control. Research and development programs are underway, the most interesting of them being aircraft engine development, shipbuilding technologies, space flights". (http://www.difesa.it/SMD_/schede_approfondimento/Pagine/CooperazioneTecnicoMilitare3.aspx)
Russian officials do not conceal their satisfaction stating that the Italian party is looking forward to a speedy termination of the "pause" and re-establishment of bilateral MTC with Russia. In particular, when taking their words at the face value, while the aggressor organized massacre for Ukrainian troops in the Debaltsevo pocket, the Italian party expressed their desire to re-establish the MTC with Russia as soon as possible. "Italy and Russia are long-standing partners in the sphere of military-technical cooperation and I hope that the pause in our relations (due to sanctions - edit.) will soon end. At least, the Italian party is interested in this", said Denis Manturov, Russian Minister of Industry and Trade at the arms exhibition in Abu Dhabi in late February 2015. (http://www.rbc.ru/rbcfreenews/54e97df69a7947095dfddebc)
On the one hand, these words may be just an element of Russian propaganda, but when in addition we hear the words of Mikhail Leontyev, the situation becomes clear, and not in Italian favour. Thus, commenting the Italians' interest to cooperation with Russian partners, the Rosneft Vice-President for PR announced the following: "Italians are loyal toward money and its typical for business as a whole. Finmeccanica has never had such a huge order, 150 helicopters, and this is just the beginning..."
Given the above, small wonder, that it is from Italy that we hear the most loud voices against the sanctions, just as previously there were voices in support of Hitler – it's nothing but déjà vu.