Any EU sanctions on Russia should not hit energy -Draghi

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Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi speaks with the media as he arrives for the EU-Africa summit at the European Council building in Brussels, Belgium February 17, 2022. Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Pool via REUTERS

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ROME, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Any sanctions that may be imposed on Russia by the European Union should not include energy imports, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Friday.

Draghi told reporters that the European Union was studying various sanctions options if Russia pushes ahead with a feared invasion of Ukraine.

"We are discussing sanctions with the EU and in the course of these discussions we have made our position known, that they should be concentrated on narrow sectors without including energy," Draghi said at a news conference.

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Italy imports 90% of its gas requirements, with Russia a key supplier.

With tensions over Ukraine intensifying, Draghi said Russian President Vladimir Putin had asked to meet him, and he hoped it would be possible to organise an encounter between Putin and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy. read more

Although Draghi said it was important to avoid sanctions on the energy sector, he added that the government was looking into other possible gas supplies should imports from Russia be hit due to a conflict.

"Putin has talked of the possibility that Russia will continue to guarantee its supplies (to Italy) and increase them if necessary," Draghi said.

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Reporting by Crispian Balmer and Giuseppe Fonte; writing by Gavin Jones; editing by Diane Craft

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