Weapons, enterprise and humanitarian aid: Italy’s recipe for Ukraine. Italian Business Minister Adolfo Urso is headed to Kyiv, following a host of institutional actions in support of the Ukrainian resistance.
- Italian lawmakers overwhelmingly voted to advance legislation on supplying additional weapons and equipment in 2023.
- The announcement of Italy’s sixth weapons package – slated to contain air defence systems requested by Kyiv – is in the works.
- Finally, Rome is readying to deliver humanitarian relief material, with an emphasis on rebuilding the country’s energy grid.
A returning guest. Mr Urso first travelled to Kyiv right before the September elections to assure the support of his and Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s party (especially in case it ended up governing, as it did). This time, he’s back as minister “to reiterate Italy’s solidarity with the Ukrainian people and agree on the new measures that the government intends to prepare on the basis of the parliamentary mandate.”
- “Surprisingly,” as the minister himself put it, he met President Volodymyr Zelensky, who presented him with an honour for his support for the Ukrainian cause, renewed the invitation to PM Meloni and “thanked Italy for its military, humanitarian, social and economic, bilateral and multilateral support.”
- He also met with Andrey Yermak, head of the Ukrainian presidential Office; Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov; Deputy PM and Economy Minister Julia Svurydenko; and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.
- Later on, Minister Urso announced at a presser an ad-hoc conference, to be held in Rome in March, with the participation of governments, financial economic institutions and Italian companies.
- Along with the minister are his diplomatic advisor Mario Cospito, Ambassador Francesco Talò, diplomatic advisor to Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, and Carlo Bonomi, President of Confindustria – i.e. the Italian entity acting as both the employers’ federation and the chamber of commerce.
Business equals reconstruction. The mission’s first act is the inauguration of Ukraine’s Confindustria desk at the Italian Embassy, featuring President Bonomi and the Italian Ambassador in Kyiv, Pier Francesco Zazo. The office will be instrumental in coordinating industrial and technological cooperation between Rome and Kyiv, as the two lay the foundations for future partnerships for the reconstruction of the country.
Protecting power supply. A month ago, while visiting Italy, United States Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman emphasised the importance of humanitarian aid in the harshest phase of winter. And beyond sending equipment to rebuild the grid, Italy is working to deliver air defence systems – through the sixth military aid package – essential to protect crucial energy infrastructures.
PM Meloni’s future visit. Last week, Ambassador Talò spoke with Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor to United States President Joe Biden. On that occasion, the two had reiterated their country’s criticism of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, including attacks against the country’s critical infrastructures, as stated in a White House note, and reaffirmed “their commitment to providing Ukraine with assistance, including support for Ukraine’s energy resilience and the military equipment needed to defend Ukraine’s sovereignty and democracy.”
- “My presence here is preparatory to [PM] Meloni’s mission to Kyiv in the coming weeks,” said Minister Urso explained at the presser.
Image: Minister Urso’s Twitter profile