OREANDA-NEWS. A videoconference between Italian business representatives and President Vladimir Putin is private, official Rome has nothing to do with it, Reuters reported, citing a source in the Italian government. The video conference between Putin and business representatives will not be cancelled, Angelika Petrova, a spokeswoman for the Italian-Russian Chamber of Commerce, said.

"The conference is not cancelled or postponed, it will be held [January 26] at 1:30 p.m.,"- Petrova said, noting that the time of the event has been slightly changed.

Earlier, La Repubblica, citing sources, reported that Italian authorities had asked to cancel the meeting or at least advise executives of major companies not to attend. Italian oil corporation Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi and Snam gas group executive Marco Alvera then cancelled their participation in the event, the newspaper noted. The request to cancel the meeting was reported by Reuters, citing an Italian official.

A Bloomberg source said that the Italian government's request had to do with a possible "invasion" of Ukraine, which Moscow is accused of preparing by Western states. The Russian side has repeatedly said it has no intention of attacking anyone.

There has been no official recommendation from the Italian authorities to cancel the video conference of businessmen with Vladimir Putin, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov commented. 

"Newspaper reports are cheap these days. You and I have not heard any official statements from the Italian government on this matter,"- Peskov stressed.

He said the meeting would be held as scheduled on 26 January and would be attended by 16 people. "I can only tell you that of what was originally planned, we do have minus three people: someone could not, someone is ill, I will not name them, it is probably their prerogative or the prerogative of the organizer from the Italian side,"- the presidential spokesman added.

The Kremlin earlier specified that the video conference was to discuss trade, economic and investment cooperation between Russia and Italy and the prospects for expanding business ties between entrepreneurs of the two countries.