Home » From Draghi to Meloni. Tracking the Italian military support to Kyiv

From Draghi to Meloni. Tracking the Italian military support to Kyiv

Italy’s 6th military aid package to Ukraine is expected to be voted on in mid-November. A partial disclosure of the list of armaments sent so far published by a leading Italian daily

Put your money where your mouth is. As disclosed by Repubblica yesterday, the last decree passed by PM Mario Draghi committed explicitly to delivering to Ukraine the most technologically advanced weapons.

  • The self-propelled MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) and the PzH2000 (an advanced type of artillery system). For example, one PzH2000 alone is equivalent to the firepower of three Russian cannons, firing approximately 20 projectiles in 3 minutes and can reach a distance of 70 km.
  • From what is known – full disclosure of the country’s defence system capabilities remains secret – Italy has a total of 18 MLRS and 68 PzH2000, of which respectively 2 and 6 destined to Ukraine still need to be delivered.
  • Other less modern equipment was already delivered, such as the “Light tactical multirole vehicle Lynx”, a 4WD tactical vehicle that can resist mine explosions. It was used to free the cities of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia on the Dnieper river.
  • Other military material, such as the M109 (no longer in use by the Italian military), is used to support armoured infantry and is compatible with NATO ammo. Between 20-30 are to be upgraded and sent to Ukraine.

European defence expenditure. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, European capitals have committed more than €200 billion in new defence spending. However, as shown by this Kiel Institute for World Economy infographic, when it comes to supporting Ukraine, the UK is the leading contributor with €2.3 billion, which still pales next to the US. So how does Italy place on this list?

  • Italy is last. But it is not alone. France, Slovakia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Greece also come in at €0.2 billion for military support to Ukraine.

“No blank check for Ukraine”. Washington’s recently released “National Security Strategy” states, “we count on our Allies to continue assuming greater responsibility, by increasing their spending, capabilities and contributions”.

  • In 2014, NATO allies pledged to reach 2 per cent of GDP on defence by 2024. Now the Biden administration wants them to go further.
  • While the Biden administration has taken a path of friendly encouragement toward Europe, likely, Republicans will not have the same approach should they take control of Congress at midterm elections.
  • As noted by House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy “people sitting in a recession are not going to write a blank check to Ukraine”.

The bottom line for Italy. When PM Giorgia Meloni spoke to President Volodymyr Zelensky last Friday, she “renewed the Italian government’s full support for Kyiv within the framework of international alliances on the political, military, economic, humanitarian and future reconstruction fronts”. The true test will be around mid-November when Italy has to vote on whether to pass its 6th military aid package for Ukraine or not.

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