Home » New leader of Italian Dems bolsters her pro-Ukraine stance

New leader of Italian Dems bolsters her pro-Ukraine stance

Elly Schlein
As she begins her mandate as leader of the Democratic Party, Elly Schlein reassured Western allies that her party stands by Kyiv. That includes providing weapons, a position that already set her on a collision course with the Five Stars’ Giuseppe Conte. However, she’s sceptical of increased defence spending

Schlein speaks up on Ukraine. In her first press conference as secretary of the Democratic Party (PD), Elly Schlein reiterated the Dems’ “support […] for the Ukrainian people in their right to defend themselves” with “all necessary forms of assistance”.

  • She repeated that message during a meeting with Yaroslav Melnyk, the Ukrainian ambassador to Italy, who told La Repubblica she had “reiterated [her] full support for Ukraine.”
  • “Our line doesn’t change: tough opposition to the Meloni government, but unity on Ukraine,” were the Dem leader’s reassuring words during Tuesday’s meeting with Ambassador Melnyk, according to Il Foglio.

Not big on more spending, though. On Wednesday, according to Agi, Ms Shlein expressed her “misgivings” on increasing Italy’s defence budget to the NATO-aligned threshold of 2% of GDP. She argued that it would be best to aim at joint EU funding for a common EU defence force.

A diplomatic tour. On Tuesday, Ms Schlein visited the embassies of the United States, Ukraine and Germany in Rome, and she again reiterated the Dems’ support for Kyiv, including through sending military supplies to the Ukrainian resistance.

  • Not far from the German Embassy in Italy is the Russian Embassy. However, the PD explained that “no meetings are scheduled” with the new ambassador Alexei Paramonov and his diplomats, according to Il Foglio.
    • Giuseppe Provenzano, the party’s new foreign affairs spokesperson, had lunch with French ambassador Christian Masset on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Five Stars… The war in Ukraine is an issue that alienates the two main opposition parties and potential allies, PD and the Five Star Movement (M5S). On Tuesday, while Ms Schlein met with foreign diplomats, the M5S leader Giuseppe Conte again spoke against new arms shipments to Ukraine.

  • “We supported the first military shipments with pain. If the strategy is the one dictated by Washington, with military escalation, we will no longer stand for it,” he told Sky TG24.
  • He did speak of “maximum support” for the Ukrainian people but remarked that “precisely because [of] this concrete and true solidarity, we want to be far-sighted. By continuing in this way, we only ensure destruction and more victims.”
  • “We must instead turn the strategy of action around. Italy has all the characteristics to do this. Because of our culture, history and first-rate diplomatic staff, we must be the international leader of this turnaround,” he added.

The Dems’ reply. Senator Enrico Borghi, member of the PD and of Parliament’s Intel Committee, responded to Mr Conte through a lengthy Facebook post. Following the latter’s line “would determine a certain, almost immediate consequence: the defeat of the Ukrainian army and the victory on the ground of [Vladimir] Putin,” he wrote.

  • This would result in “the transformation of Ukraine into a satellite state of Moscow, bring the divisions of Russia into direct contact with the borders of Nato countries […], affirm as valid the Putinian principle of the legitimacy of violent aggression of the sovereignty of another state,” he continued.

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