Home » Italian FM calls to establish NATO-Ukraine Council at Vilnius

Italian FM calls to establish NATO-Ukraine Council at Vilnius

As the weekend’s Russian crisis highlighted the chinks in Putin’s armour, Foreign Minister Tajani discussed Moscow’s weakened state, the increased nuclear danger, and which steps to take at the Alliance’s Vilnius summit to work towards bringing Kyiv into the fold

As the dust settles in Russia, and the Wagner Group’s Evgeny Prigozhin disappears from public view after his attempt to a coup d’etat, the world is left wondering what will happen now that Vladimir Putin’s grip on power appears to have greatly diminished. This might well be a turning point, argued the Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, who had been closely following the developments.

  • “Russia is weaker. Major cracks emerged in its military system, which had Wagner as its flagship. It will be a major loss for Moscow,” said the Italian FM in an interview with La Stampa, as he noted that the divisions have also reached Russia’s public opinion.

Welcoming Ukraine into NATO… FM Tajani approached the issue by stating that the time for Kyiv’s entry in the Alliance hasn’t come yet, as peace must be reached first. However, “we can make the first steps towards [its] adhesion.” A good place to start is the Atlantic Alliance’s summit in Vilnius, in July, by creating a NATO-Ukraine Council – “which Italy supports with conviction.”

… and maintaining a united front. “I’d like this to be clear: we’re not at war with Russia. We defend Ukraine’s independence, we don’t act to intervene in Russia,” went on Mr Tajani. He also noted that there’s an “element of worry” with regards to the risk of nuclear escalation, but voiced his hope that Moscow may “understand it’s time to recall its army” and reach a cease-fire.

  • The cold reactions from Russia’s allies, he added, show that the war is in no-one’s interest. That includes close countries such as China, “which can push Russia to retrace its steps and fulfil a role for peace, with a free Ukraine.”

Italy’s line. On its part, Rome will keep aiding Kyiv’s struggle for independence – “including with weapons, if necessary” – until it remains at risk, and continue its efforts to aid reconstruction. The Italian FM also stressed Washington’s “great consideration,” recalling Saturday’s G-7 meeting and his press conference alongside US State Secretary Antony Blinken.

  • Italy is crucial to maintain a united European front, he explained; “and everyone should keep that in mind.”

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