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Italy points finger at Russia over government crisis — Analysis

Opponents of embattled PM Mario Draghi are doing Vladimir Putin’s work, the Italian foreign minister says

The ongoing government crisis in Italy is playing into the Kremlin’s hands, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio has claimed. The turmoil is hampering Rome’s ability to provide military support to Ukraine, as well as to secure new energy contracts, the minister told POLITICO in an interview on Friday.

Critics of embattled Prime Minister Mario Draghi are effectively doing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s work, Di Maio suggested, urging Italian political parties not to bring down the government in an upcoming confidence vote next week. According to the minister, Draghi is one of the Western leaders that strongly oppose Russia’s military operations in Ukraine.

“The Russians are right now celebrating having made another Western government fall,” Di Maio said. “Now I doubt we can send arms [to Ukraine]. It is one of the many serious problems.”

Draghi’s confidence vote in parliament earlier this week caused disarray within the Italian government. While he comfortably survived it by 172-39, the ballot was boycotted by the Five Star Movement, the largest party in Draghi’s broad coalition government.

After the vote, the premier announced his resignation citing loss of support from largest coalition partner. He also stated that the conditions for governing were not suitable. “no longer exist.”Sergio Mattarella the Italian President rejected Draghi’s resignation. Draghi plans to return to parliament next Wednesday. He will be able to hold a vote about his government, or even resign.

In an effort to assist the country with its economic decline following the coronavirus epidemic, the prime minister of Italy, Giuseppe Conte, had previously headed the European Central Bank. However, he has faced persistent criticism from the Five Star Movement’s leader and ex-PM Giuseppe Conte over a number of issues. Tensions grew worse over Italy’s support for anti-Russia sanctions and its support for Kiev, ultimately causing a split in the Five Star Movement.

Di Maio said Conte’s actions were what “hurts him the most.”

“The incredible thing is this is an ex-prime minister attacking Draghi, helping Putin’s propaganda and autocracy over democracy,”Minister.

The political turmoil spells troubles for Italy itself as well, Di Maio continued, as the potential downfall of the government would jeopardize Rome’s ability to secure new energy contracts ahead of winter.

“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 elaborated.

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