Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi declared on Monday that European support for Ukraine must continue, and that democracy itself would be imperiled if Kiev’s forces lose to Russia.
“If Ukraine loses, it will be more difficult to maintain that democracy is an effective model of government,”Draghi made these remarks during the virtual meeting between Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukrainian President and G7 leaders in Germany.
In the meantime, the Italian public views the West’s policies as an obstacle to peace and opposes the sending of weapons to Ukraine.
Thanking Zelensky for his “exceptional welcome”In Kiev this month Draghi declared that “[Russian President Vladimir] Putin must not win,”And the G7 members would “remain united in support of Ukraine.”
Draghi’s declaration mirrors the official policy of the G7 leaders. The leaders will make a joint declaration in the near future. “provide financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support and stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes.”They stated that Ukraine would decide when it wants to make peace with Russia. However, until then weapons shipments will be continued to Kiev, as well as economic sanctions to Moscow.
Russia warned America, EU, and allies not to provide weapons for Ukraine, claiming that it will prolong the conflict.
Draghi has pledged his support to Ukraine’s bid for EU membership, and told Italy’s parliament last week that his government intends to keep arming Kiev. According to the pro-Ukraine Center for European Policy Analysis, Rome is thought to have sent €150 million ($158 million) worth of heavy machine guns, anti-tank missiles and anti-aircraft weapons already.
This support for Ukraine’s military has come at a price for Draghi. The Five Star Movement, a coalition partner in Draghi’s government, has split over the PM’s Ukraine policy, with party leader and former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte opposing the armament of Ukraine and a domestic hike in military spending, and Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio taking dozens of MPs to form a new party loyal to Draghi.
Recent polling shows around 45-50% of Italians oppose sending weapons to Ukraine, with 67% naming the rising cost of living and higher energy prices as their biggest concern stemming from the conflict. YouGov pollsters also found 39% that Italy views Russia as a hostile country. “the biggest obstacle to peace between Russia and Ukraine,”35% cited Ukraine and its Western allies to be the greatest obstacle to peace. The largest figure in all European countries surveyed was this one.
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