Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte for improving the relations between the European Union and Russia and to stop sanctions on Moscow on Thursday.

Putin said, “I hope Italy will explain to the EU the damage that has been caused by economic sanctions imposed by the EU and the U.S after he met Conte during his visit to Rome.

During a joint news conference with Italian PM Conte, Putin said, “European nations missed the chance to sell billions worth of goods on the Russian market”.

“This means losses for all of us,” he added.

In response to Vladimir Putin, Italian Prime Minister Conte said, “Italy would act as far as possible to help restore a full relationship between Russia and the EU.”

Putin has also acknowledged that sanctions have cost Russia an estimated $50 billion since 2014, but he contends EU nations have suffered even greater damage.

However, Putin also said, “Russia is not obligated to make any substantial effort in Libya because it has never bombed the country.”

“It would be right to remember how the whole thing started, who destroyed Libya’s statehood. As far as I understand, it was NATO’s decision,” Putin said.

In his first visit to Rome in four years, Putin also met with Pope Francis for “substantive talks” at the Vatican and thanked the pontiff for discussions on a range.

During an hour meeting at the Apostolic Palace, the two addressed “various questions of relevance to the life of the Catholic Church in Russia,” the Vatican said in a statement.

The meeting came a day before Catholic leaders from Ukraine gather at the Holy See to discuss the continuing conflict in their country and the fallout from the schism between the Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox churches.