Europe needs to limit Russian influence in Balkans, Italy says

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg shakes hands with Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani during the NATO foreign ministers meeting in Bucharest, Romania November 29, 2022. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

BUCHAREST, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Europe should increase its presence in the western Balkans to limit the influence of Russia, Italian foreign minister Antonio Tajani said on Wednesday ahead of the second day of NATO meetings in Bucharest.

"The stability in western Balkans is important for peace. We need to stop the Russians in the western Balkans, we need more Europe," Tajani said.

"We need to protect all the countries in the western Balkans and close to Ukraine because it is important in this moment to work together, Unity is important and it's a strong message to Russia."

Reporting by John Irish, Charlotte Van Campenhout and Bart Meijer

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