Diplomacy at work. On Friday, the United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, met with Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani in Munster, Germany, during a G7 meeting. He thanked him for his commitment to sustaining Italy’s strong support for Ukraine.
- The two discussed ways to mitigate the impact of rising energy prices on consumers, shared concerns over China, and considered steps to bolster security in the Mediterranean region. Mr Blinken also expressed appreciation for Rome’s ongoing contributions to international assistance efforts.
- On Thursday Minister Tajani also spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba about the upcoming military aid to Kyiv. The two “focused on ways to speed up the delivery of the latest package of Italian assistance to Ukraine’s security, and we also discussed the next military aid package,” wrote Mr Kuleba on Twitter.
“I admire pacifists, but we’ll still send weapons”. That’s what Defence Minister Guido Crosetto told Avvenire on the eve of a pro-peace rally in Rome. The event will feature prominent politicians – such as the Five Star Movement’s Giuseppe Conte – who openly campaign against sending military aid to Ukraine.
- “When civilian populations are in danger of succumbing under the blows of an unjust aggressor, and the efforts of politics and the instruments of non-violent defence have been to no avail, it is legitimate and even a duty to engage in concrete initiatives to disarm the aggressor,” said the Defence Minister quoting St John Paul II.
Seeing through the parade. The minister issued a thinly-veiled shot at those attempting to instrumentalise the demonstration. “Wave your flags. Shout your ideas loudly. It is always right and always nice to defend what you believe in. But you must know that […] the world of defence wants peace just as you want it.”
- Politicians who will partake in the protest promised not to bring party flags. However, there will “be an intolerable lack of clarity on behalf of too many politicians. [People] who consciously and responsibly voted in Parliament for five decrees, five arms shipments to Ukraine. And who now cry ‘no more arms’.
- Now, this is dramatically sad,” he argued, “because in the same square, there is a piece of civil society that has always waved the flag of peace. And there are those who, like [Mr] Conte, voted for those five decrees and are now saying no to ‘dastardly arms races’. This sleazy political propaganda on such a decisive issue only causes me so much anger and sadness.”
“Peace is never free”. That’s what Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni told the Houses of Parliament during the confidence vote, when asked about the alleged contradiction of talking about peace and preparing to greenlight a further increase in military spending (by 2028, it will rise from 68 million to 104 million every day).
- “It is an illusion to think [peace is free]. How do we help Ukraine to defend itself? Do we organise a human chain of millions of European citizens surrounding Kyiv? The other day I was re-reading the Code of Military Order. Point one is the defence of the State. Point two is working for peace and security.”
Standing by their promises. The previous day, Minister Crosetto had spoken with his Ukrainian counterpart Oleksij Reznikov and confirmed Italy’s continued support. When asked by Avvenire about the sixth weapons package, which was reportedly put on hold, he reckoned that Italy’s military aid would be delivered like the previous times since the situation in Ukraine hasn’t changed.