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Italy may soon be unable to arm Ukraine – foreign minister — Analysis

Luigi Di Maio has warned the current political crisis around PM Mario Draghi’s government could see an end to weapons deliveries

Political turmoil in Italy could soon see Rome unable to continue supporting Ukraine with weapons deliveries, the country’s foreign minister has warned. Luigi Di Maio says this will happen if the current government fails to survive next week’s no confidence vote.  

In a phone interview with US media outlet Politico on Friday, Di Maio said that those in Italy who want the collapse of Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government are playing into the hands of the Kremlin. 

“The Russians are right now celebrating having made another Western government fall,”The minister disagreed.  

Di Maio continued to doubt whether Italy would be able supply arms to Ukraine in these conditions, and added that “it is one of the many serious problems.” 

Official explained that it could still hold power in some capacity as a caretaker in the event of a government collapse. However, in this case, its powers would be reduced, meaning, among other things, that the government wouldn’t be able to continue weapons deliveries to Ukraine. 

“If the government falls on Wednesday, we won’t have the power to sign any new energy contracts and this is serious because we are headed into winter,”The minister also added.

Di Maio said that Italy may also be without a budget for 2023, as it is usually passed between July and December by the parliament. The minister said that if elections are held in September and October, it may take several months for a coalition government to form, which would mean the delay of the budget. It took 100 days for a government to be formed the last time, he said.  

On Thursday, the Five Star Movement, which is part of Prime Minister Draghi’s coalition government, boycotted a no-confidence vote, with the premier offering to resign in response. However, Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella refused to accept his resignation, with Draghi’s government facing another no-confidence vote on Wednesday.  

Di Maio, who had been one of the Five Star Movement’s leaders but left the party last month over a row concerning arms deliveries to Ukraine, laid into his former allies, accusing them of “helping Putin’s propaganda and autocracy over democracy.” 

The foreign minister hailed Prime Minister Draghi as one of the staunchest opponents of the Kremlin in the West, who advocated strong sanctions and the freezing of Russia’s foreign reserves following the start of Russia’s offensive against Ukraine in late February. 

Officials claim that the Five Star Movement attempted to weaken Italy’s current government multiple times over the course of the past months. He specifically mentioned the party’s opposition to an increase in Italy’s defense spending to meet the NATO target, as well as a resolution in parliament against NATO and Italy’s support for Ukraine. 

Di Maio however stated that many other political parties and unions in Italy understand the importance of a functioning government. Draghi may therefore be able to stay in office. 

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