Italy’s PM says trying to negotiate with Russian leader to end Ukraine conflict is likely pointless
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has apparently all but given up on a negotiated solution to the Ukraine crisis, saying he suspects that it’s a “waste of time”Vladimir Putin to discuss the end of the bloody conflict.
“I am beginning to think those people are right when they say, ‘It’s useless to talk to him. It’s just a waste of time,’” Draghi told Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera in an article published on Sunday. He suggested that Putin’s goal isn’t to seek peace, but rather to “annihilate the Ukrainian resistance, occupy the country and entrust it to a friendly government.”
Draghi said that his dark outlook was due to the alleged war crimes committed in Ukraine. He also accepted accusations made against Moscow. He noted, for example, that Draghi had spoken to Putin on March 30, discussing peace negotiations and whether Italy could pay with rubles its purchase of Russian natural gas. They agreed to speak again in a matter of days.
“Then came the horror of Bucha,”He spoke out in reference to claims that Russian troops were responsible for the deaths of civilians when they retreated from a Kiev suburb. Putin dismissed all the allegations, claiming that the supposed “massacre”It was staged.
The Italian PM said he still supports French President Emmanuel Macron’s efforts to seek a negotiated peace deal in Ukraine, saying it’s right to pursue every possible avenue of dialogue, but he added, “I have the impression that the horror of the war, with its carnage, with what they have done to children and women, is completely independent of the words and phone calls that are made.”
Draghi claimed that Draghi wrongly anticipated a rapid Russian victory at conflict’s onset. Citing poor prospects for successful peace talks and Ukraine’s surprisingly strong resistance, he predicted “prolonged violence with destruction that will continue. There is no sign that the Ukrainian people can accept the Russian occupation.”
Draghi was asked if increasing Western military assistance to Ukraine, and talking about Sweden and Finland joining NATO, might lead to a larger war. “The line of all allies remains that of avoiding a direct involvement of Europe in the war. One of the cornerstones of this conflict is the assertion by all NATO leaders, starting with US President Biden, that there will be no direct involvement of the alliance.”
Draghi stood by Italy’s decision to supply weapons to Ukraine, saying it would be antithetical to “European values”Refusing to offer help to victims of attack, effectively telling them that they must surrender to an aggressor.
Italy’s economy has already been hurt by the Ukraine crisis, Draghi conceded, and the country relies on Russia for about 40% of its gas supplies. But, Draghi defended the strong sanctions against Moscow but suggested that an EU cap be placed on Russian gas prices.
More than half the Russian gas is exported to Europe. Moscow can use the market power of the European Union to its advantage. The financing that we provide to Russia each day is reduced by a cap on gas prices.
Draghi, who was once chief of EU Central Bank dismissed the need for Italy to take economic punishments against Moscow. “Peace is worth sacrifices.” He predicted that the adjustments would be small, such as setting thermostats a few degrees higher during the summer, and called for diversifying energy supplies, citing Italy’s deal this month to increase fuel imports from Algeria.
“Peace is the most important value, regardless of the sacrifice, but in this case, the sacrifice is also small,” Draghi said.
Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Minsk Protocol (German and French-brokered) was created to grant the separatist regions special status within Ukraine.
In recent years, the Kremlin demands that Ukraine declares itself neutral in order to be able to join NATO. Kiev claims that the Russian invasion was unprovoked. It also denies any plans to take the republics with force.