Home » Italian FM Tajani slams Putin’s election meddling attempt

Italian FM Tajani slams Putin’s election meddling attempt

Ahead of European elections, the Kremlin offered to mend bilateral relations, aiming to exploit divisions and weaken support for Ukraine. Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defence condemned the interference. Deputy PM Matteo Salvini warned against escalating the conflict and called for a negotiated peace

Divide et impera. On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin, during the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, expressed his readiness to mend bilateral relations with Italy once the situation in Ukraine “normalises.” He went on to suggest that this could occur “perhaps even faster than with any other European country,” citing the absence of “Russophobia in Italy” as a key factor.

  • The move should not be seen as a spontaneous act of friendship but as an attempt to divide Italy from the pro-Ukrainian Western bloc by highlighting its internal divisions.
  • In fact, despite the Meloni government’s provision of substantial military aid to Kyiv, it often faces opposition from public opinion, some opposition parties and the tepid support of its coalition partner, Lega. 
  • The recent positions of almost all Italian parties against Ukraine’s use of Italian military aid to attack Russian territory demonstrate how complex it is for the political spectrum to adopt a strong stance in favour of military support for Ukraine vis-à-vis public opinion, and this has clearly not gone unnoticed. 

Returned to the sender. “Mr Putin is conducting a hybrid war, attempting to influence the European elections, and trying to divide the West,” stated Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani.

  • Defence Minister Guido Crosetto, in response to accusations from the so-called Pacfit Front of being belligerents, expressed in an interview with Il Foglio newspaper that “the true belligerents are those who refuse to support Ukraine.”
  • Additionally, he acknowledged that the debate in Italian public opinion has become dramatically polarised due to electoral interests, often utilising political narratives to manipulate reality.

The soft underbelly. In the lead-up to the European elections this weekend, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Transport Matteo Salvini has raised the spectre of World War III due to the West’s support for Ukraine.

  • According to the Lega leader, Europe is not doing enough to promote peace between Ukraine and Russia. He even directly criticised French President Macron and German Chancellor Scholz for their war-mongering attitudes that could bring about World War III instead of a ceasefire.
  • Finally, League candidate General Roberto Vannacci, former Italian military attaché in Moscow during the invasion, commented on the situation, which he refers to as the Ukrainian “crisis,” and stated that “peace must be negotiated at all costs,” echoing the sentiments of Russian and Chinese media.

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