Rome greenlights weapons delivery to Kyiv in 2023. On Thursday evening, the Italian government adopted a decree-law to extend the authorisation for the transfer of military means, materials and equipment to the government authorities of Ukraine until December 31 2023 – upon the approval of Parliament.
- The bill was tabled by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Foreign Affairs Minister Antonio Tajani and Defence Minister Guido Crosetto. The cabinet unanimously approved the act, supporting Prime Minister Meloni’s Atlanticist stance.
- As Defence Minister Guido Crosetto said days ago, not extending the Draghi-era law would kill “the legal cover allowing the Italian State to respect the international commitments made in the EU and NATO with Ukraine.”
- “The threat posed by Russia to the peace and the security of our continent requires from all democracies, particularly those in Europe, a renewed impulse of unity and cohesion,” said President Sergio Mattarella on Tuesday.
The process. Italian legislation requires Parliament to convert the decree-law within 60 days of its publication in the Official Gazette. Otherwise, it lapses. MPs will debate the issue on December 13, with Minister Crosetto present. On that occasion, disagreements in both the majority and the opposition may emerge again.
Tajani outlines the majority’s stance. “Italy will continue to follow the NATO and EU line as unity is our strength to allow Kyiv to negotiate a just peace,” said Minister Tajani – coordinator of Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party – to La Repubblica, in response to a question about Mr Berlusconi and the League’s Matteo Salvini’s past calls to stop supplying arms to Kyiv and ease sanctions against Russia.
- “At this moment, we are not sending any more weapons; there is a pathway run by the Defence [Department] for new equipment according to the Ukrainian requests,” added Mr Tajani. “However, we are providing material to restore the electrical infrastructure, and we have made available our Civil Protection (the national body that deals with the prediction, prevention and management of emergency events, ed) for winter emergencies.”
- Will the Civil Defence operate in Ukrainian territory? “We are waiting for Kyiv’s requests, but if the number of refugees increases with the frost, we are ready to help, even by hosting new refugees,” he replied.
The international front. The Italian government’s decision came on the day that US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron surprisingly announced an international conference taking place in Paris on December 13, 2022.
- “They also intend to continue providing robust direct budget support for Ukraine and to urge the international financial institutions to scale up their financial support”, according to a joint statement.
- PM Meloni is expected to address Parliament before the European Council on December 13. But she “could drop out to fly to Paris”, according to La Repubblica.
- “Italy is very interested and will support any political and diplomatic initiative that can lead to a just peace for Ukraine”, noted Mr Tajani.