Adolfo Urso is in Kyiv. The Italian senator, who’s also head of the Italian Parliament’s Intelligence Committee and among Brothers of Italy’s top officers, reached the Ukrainian capital on Friday. There he met with Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and reiterated Italy’s – and its allies’ – full support of the Ukrainian resistance.
- “I am grateful to the Italian Parliament for making crucial decisions to strengthen Ukraine’s defence capabilities in countering Russian aggression. We discussed further military aid, sanctions and recovery efforts,” tweeted Mr Kuleba.
- The Intel Committee played a part in reviewing the four pieces of legislation regarding weapons shipment to Ukraine.
Friendship and weapons. “Italy’s support for Ukraine since the beginning of Russian aggression against our country has become the best expression of our traditional friendship and partnership,” said Andriy Yermak, chief of staff of President Volodymyr Zelensky, during his meeting with Mr Urso.
- He also expressed Kyiv’s hope that “Italy’s high level of support” would continue after the September 25 elections and through the next government, stressing the need to establish contacts at the highest level with the new Italian leadership as soon as possible.
- The two also “discussed the importance of preparing a new defence assistance package from Italy,” noted Mr Zelensky’s office.
Doing the rounds. As polls have it, the centre-right coalition is likely to win Italy’s upcoming elections. Brothers of Italy – Ms Meloni’s party – is slated to end up on top and become the biggest governing force. Hence, BoI officials are currently working to reinforce their international ties as emissaries of the would-be government led by Ms Meloni.
- After Kyiv, Mr Urso will travel to Washington, DC, for his second visit in three months, to pave the way with the Democratic leadership (and possibly ping the Republican allies).
The Putin factor. Some international onlookers have expressed worry about Italy’s positioning on the global stage in the event of a BoI-led government. Especially given the links between the second and third-biggest forces in the centre-right coalition – Matteo Salvini’s League and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia – and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
- Recently, Mr Salvini began to push the Kremlin’s talking points on the Western sanctions on Russia – stating they don’t work as intended and end up punishing the sanctioning countries in an effort to whip up electoral support.
Staunchly pro-Kyiv. However, Ms Meloni has been forcefully pushing back against such international worries, reiterating BoI’s “unquestionable” Euro-Atlantic positioning and assuring that if she does end up winning, the next government will continue supporting Ukraine – including by sending weapons.
- Mr Urso’s trip to Kyiv “proves that BoI is not constrained by anyone [regarding] the protection of national interests and its Atlantic positioning,” party sources told Adnkronos, in what looked like a thinly veiled dig at the League’s ambiguous stances.
- “Italian diplomacy must act with the European and Atlantic partners to keep [Ukraine] on the right side of history,” said Ambassador Giulio Terzi, who oversees BoI’s diplomatic relations, to Decode39.
- Read a summary of our interview with Mr Terzi to get a sense of the party’s foreign policy stances.