Home » At Ukraine’s side, always. An op-ed by Italian Foreign Minister Tajani

At Ukraine’s side, always. An op-ed by Italian Foreign Minister Tajani

Marking the two-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion, Italy’s chief of foreign affairs reflects on the debt that the free world owes Ukraine. Writing on our sister publication Formiche, he detailed the breadth of support flowing from Rome to Kyiv and vowed continued commitment, including via the G-7

Two years have passed since the Russian Federation invaded Ukraine, marking a watershed moment in European history. The war continues to cause devastation, death and suffering to the civilian population and dramatic consequences at a global scale. It is an extremely serious attack on the entire international community and the rules that have been built within the United Nations, an unprovoked and unjustified aggression in blatant violation of international law and humanitarian principles.

From the very first moment, Italy has supported Ukraine with strength and complete conviction. Commitment to Kyiv is now a priority of the Italian G-7 Presidency, as reiterated by Prime Minister Meloni to Ukrainian President Zelensky. It is no coincidence that this was the first contact of the Italian G-7 Presidency with an international leader. Our country supports Ukraine across the board.

Net of assistance at the European level, we have provided Ukraine with more than €2 billion in aid, of which €820 million has been earmarked for refugees, €310 million for budget support, and more than €93 million for humanitarian aid. Our humanitarian response, which has also included the donation of goods, is aimed at supporting the work of international organisations and our civil society organisations, which are at the forefront of responding to the most urgent needs in Ukraine and neighbouring countries. We must not forget the global repercussions of this war, particularly regarding food security.

In 2023, Italy renewed its support for the “Grain from Ukraine” Ukrainian initiative. It also continued to reiterate, in all international fora, the importance of initiatives to facilitate the transport of agricultural products from the Black Sea to global markets and the most affected countries. On the military front, we recently approved the decree extending the possibility of support for Ukrainian defence until the end of 2024, as well as the eighth aid package.

The issue of attacks on energy infrastructure is particularly close to our hearts. We are working with partners to strengthen Ukraine’s resilience and enable the population to get through the winter without suffering. We have also made available a €100 million aid credit for an initiative aimed at restoring the energy capacity of the Ukrainian state-owned company, in co-financing with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Italy is also at the forefront of the reconstruction of Ukraine, in which we want to play a central role.

In 2025, we will host the Ukraine Reconstruction Conference in Italy. We are already playing a leading role in the reconstruction of Odesa. We immediately moved to protect the rich historical and cultural heritage of that city, promoting the inclusion of the historic centre of Odessa in the Unesco World Heritage List and thus in the Unesco List of Heritage in Danger and making a financial contribution to securing the cathedral.

At the EU level, Italy fully supports Ukraine’s European path and actively contributed to the granting of EU candidate status to Kyiv. We are at the forefront for the approval of the European multiannual financial instrument, worth €50 billion, to meet the immediate budgetary and administrative needs and the country’s recovery, also in view of enlargement. In terms of security, the Italian G-7 Presidency will coordinate with partners to ensure consistency and compliance with bilateral security commitments.

We believe it is important to continue leveraging the European Peace Facility (EPF) for supplies to Ukraine, in addition to bilateral supplies. The EPF allows for unified action and enables our industry to meet Ukrainian needs. A just peace remains the ultimate goal, and we support President Zelensky’s proposal. Italy is in favour of the ten-point peace formula and will continue to work, also as G-7 president, to dialogue with global partners and interlocutors for its implementation.

Ukraine is defending freedom and democracy. They are the founding values of our European identity and the foundations of international law, which we intend to defend vigorously so that no state feels threatened by its neighbour any longer. Liberal democracies have a duty to work towards a “just peace”. The free world is indebted to the Ukrainian women and men. They are not alone: Italy will continue to be at their side.

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