The parliament in Liguria in northwestern Italy has voted in favor of a resolution to recognize Crimea as part of Russia and lift anti-Russia sanctions.
Liguria became the second region to adopt the resolution, with more votes expected in other parts of Italy.
The regional lawmakers overwhelmingly voted in favor of the resolution on Wednesday, with 26 out of 31 deputies calling on the national authorities to change the country's stance on the issue.
"The members of the [regional] parliament voted to recognize the right of self-determination of the people of Crimea and to lift the sanctions," Italian politician Stefano Valdegamberi, who is behind the motion, adding that it's "great news, great results."
Although the resolution is not legally binding, "It's a message that a region of Italy gives to the Italian government, and it's very significant," the politician said, adding that it has also been supported by members of Italy's ruling Democratic Party. "It is very important.
More Italian regions force the government to change its foreign policy," Valdegamberi said.
Calling on Rome to condemn the EU’s stance on Crimean reunification with Russia and scrap its restrictive measures against Moscow, the document authorizes the chairman of Liguria's regional council and the head of the region to cooperate with the government and the parliament of Italy on the issue.
Saying that the sanctions are getting "more absurd, especially with the Brexit effects," the politician said that Italy needs to "open its market to Russia and not to close it."
Highlighting negative effects that the policy of restrictions and similar counter-measures have on European economies, he said that "Italian people don't understand the motivation behind these sanctions."
A mass protest against the sanctions is being organized in Italy's Verona in northern Veneto region, Valdegamberi told , saying that "something is moving in Italy now."
Such regional votes show "that the process of anti-Russian propaganda in the context of Ukraine has not only come to a dead end, it is also starting to rewind and work against those who launched it," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said, adding that "this is just the beginning."
In May, the defiant resolution to recognize Crimea as Russian and lift the sanctions was adopted in the Veneto region.
Expecting a profound political effect, the document's authors then said that the Italian government should "immediately" and in full restore economic ties with Russia, imposed by the US and the EU in spring 2014 after Crimea's decision in a referendum to reunite with Russia.
Italy's Lombardy with its capital city of Milan is to vote on a similar resolution in early July.