World

Putin visits Italy, pope in show of statesmanship after G-7 reaffirms sanctions for Ukraine

  • Pope Francis adjusts his skull cap as he arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, June 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    Pope Francis adjusts his skull cap as he arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, June 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)  (The Associated Press)

  • Italian Premier Matteo Renzi, right, greets Russian President Vladimir Putin at the end of a press conference, in Rho, near Milan, Italy, Wednesday, June 10, 2015.  Russian President Vladimir Putin was meeting Wednesday with Italian officials and Pope Francis as the U.S. sought to encourage the Vatican to join the West in condemning Moscow's actions in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

    Italian Premier Matteo Renzi, right, greets Russian President Vladimir Putin at the end of a press conference, in Rho, near Milan, Italy, Wednesday, June 10, 2015. Russian President Vladimir Putin was meeting Wednesday with Italian officials and Pope Francis as the U.S. sought to encourage the Vatican to join the West in condemning Moscow's actions in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)  (The Associated Press)

  • Italian Premier Matteo Renzi, right, shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the end of a press conference at the 2015 Expo, in Rho, near Milan, Italy, Wednesday, June 10, 2015. Russian President Vladimir Putin was meeting Wednesday with Italian officials and Pope Francis as the U.S. sought to encourage the Vatican to join the West in condemning Moscow's actions in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

    Italian Premier Matteo Renzi, right, shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the end of a press conference at the 2015 Expo, in Rho, near Milan, Italy, Wednesday, June 10, 2015. Russian President Vladimir Putin was meeting Wednesday with Italian officials and Pope Francis as the U.S. sought to encourage the Vatican to join the West in condemning Moscow's actions in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)  (The Associated Press)

Russian President Vladimir Putin is visiting Italy to meet with Italian officials and Pope Francis in a symbolic show of statesmanship after his latest snub by the Group of Seven advanced democracies, which reaffirmed sanctions over Moscow's actions in Ukraine.

Putin meets Wednesday with Premier Matteo Renzi in Milan before heading to Rome for an audience with Pope Francis, who has declined to join the West in condemning Moscow for its actions in Ukraine in an apparent bid to not upset relations with the Orthodox Church.

The trip, which includes a visit to Russia's pavilion at the Expo world's fair in Milan, is significant for Putin after the G-7 this week made clear that any lifting of sanctions against Russia depends on Moscow fully implementing the Ukraine peace accord.