(AGI) St Petersburg, June 17 - Italy is here to build bridges between Russia and the European Union, said Italian Premier Matteo Renzi ahead of the annual St Petersburg International Economic Forum, where he will meet Russian President, Vladimir Putin. "The question of sanctions is reductive," Renzi went on. "The relationship between the EU and Russia is important and goes back a long time. We are building bridges. Italy is in favour of dialogue, not of closing doors because there is much more that unites us than divides us." Renzi pointed out that Russia must respect the Minsk agreements on Ukraine, adding that "at the same time we have to use all possible opportunities for dialogue. Italy does this on all occasions, from Libya to Syria and the fight against terrorism. It is important that there is this opportunity for dialogue, it is important that Juncker was here yesterday." Visiting the St Petersburg State Hermitage museum, Renzi added: "I'm starting my visit at the Hermitage because culture is one of the important areas that unite us." (AGI) . .