The West was in a state of shock and fear as they believed that Italy’s first female prime minister Georgia Meloni, would side with Russia, however she just now confirmed that her government will continue to side with Ukraine and Italy will continue to offer loyal support to Ukraine and its right to exist as a free and independent country. Now this is true nationalism right here. Italian nationalism, Ukrainian nationalism! Applause to Georgia Meloni for siding with Ukraine against the imperialist Russian occupiers.
Italy’s presumptive new prime minister Giorgia Meloni has reassured Ukraine she will continue to support their war effort against Vladimir Putin.
Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted a message of congratulations to the far-right Brothers of Italy leader, who secured the largest vote share in Sunday’s elections and is set to be appointed the country’s first ever female leader.
Zelensky said in Italian: ‘We appreciate Italy’s constant support for Ukraine in the fight against Russian aggression.
‘We are counting on a productive partnership with the new Italian government.’
Meloni, who congratulated Putin for his election win in 2018 and is forming a coalition with Matteo Salvini and Silvio Berlusconi who have praised the Russian leader even throughout the war, assured voters she will back Ukraine.
She replied: ‘You know that you can count on our loyal support for the cause of freedom of Ukrainian people. Stay strong and keep your faith steadfast!’
Outgoing Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has been one of the strongest backers of EU sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, despite his country’s reliance on Russian gas.
Rome has also sent weapons to help Kyiv fight off President Vladimir Putin’s forces.
Meloni is Eurosceptic but has backed Draghi’s line on Ukraine and supports supplying arms so Kyiv can defend itself.
Last week, her coalition partner Berlusconi sparked fury by claiming Putin was ‘pushed’ into invading Ukraine and only wants to put ‘decent people’ in charge of Kyiv.
The Italian leader and former PM, whose Forza Italia party in the minor partner in the three-party union, is a long-time friend of Putin and his comments are likely to alarm Western allies now that he’s back in government.
‘Putin was pushed by the Russian people, by his party, by his ministers to come up with this special operation,’ Berlusconi told Italian public television RAI late on Thursday, using the official Russian wording for the war.
Russia’s plan was originally to conquer Kyiv ‘in a week’, and replace the democratically elected Zelensky with ‘a government of decent people’ and get out ‘in another week,’ he said.
‘I haven’t even understood why Russian troops spread around Ukraine while in my mind they should have only stuck around Kyiv’, said the 85-year-old Berlusconi, who once described Putin as being like a younger brother.
Facing widespread condemnation from opponents for his words, Berlusconi released a statement on Friday saying his views had been ‘oversimplified’.
‘The aggression against Ukraine is unjustifiable and unacceptable, (Forza Italia’s) position is clear. We will always be with the EU and NATO,’ he said.
Reaction to Sunday’s strong result for Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party was muted from pillars of EU integration like Paris and Berlin, but right-wing Warsaw and Budapest were warm in their congratulations.
‘We’ve never had greater need of friends sharing a vision of and a common approach to Europe,’ the Hungarian government said, while from Poland came praise for Meloni’s ‘great victory’.
‘Hungary and Poland are more than happy with this election, first because it relieves the pressure on their own countries in the EU, and second because it paves the way for a more united front,’ said Yordan Bozhilov, director of the Bulgaria-based Sofia Security Forum think-tank.
The Italian election follows hard on the heels of a Swedish poll that also produced a surge for the extreme right.
But with the far right in power in one of the EU’s largest countries and founding members, Hungary and Poland could be far less isolated in their battles with Brussels over rule-of-law issues.
What’s more, Rome, Budapest and Warsaw are now set for alignment on social concerns, with anti-Islam, anti-abortion and anti-LGBT positions.
‘Together we will defeat the cynical and pampered Eurocrats who are destroying the European Union, breaching treaties, destroying our civilisation and advancing the LGBT agenda!’ Poland’s deputy agriculture minister Janusz Kowalski tweeted in a message congratulating Meloni on Monday.
Meloni also shares her prospective allies’ vision of a Christian, white Europe made up of sovereign nations.
‘Hungary and Poland are countries that want to change the EU from within, and they don’t hide it. So far they haven’t succeeded, but there will definitely be an attempt to create a Rome-Budapest-Warsaw axis,’ said Tara Varma, director of the Paris office of the European Council on Foreign Relations.
But such parties’ demands have already moderated in recent years from full exit from the EU, ‘given the absolute cautionary tale that Brexit has been,’ she added.
Instead, the axis could become ‘spoilers, the sand in the gears’ in Brussels.
‘One step forward, two steps back, they could prevent the EU making progress while continuing to benefit from joint funds,’ Varma said.
A front based on values could still founder when faced with today’s overriding concern of the war in Ukraine and EU relations with Russia.
While Meloni has so far matched Warsaw in declarations of support for Ukraine and for EU sanctions on Russia over its invasion of its neighbour, Hungary’s leader Viktor Orban – close to President Vladimir Putin – is opposed.
‘At some point, Meloni will have to choose between Poland and Hungary,’ Varma predicted.
The Brothers of Italy leader is not expected to bend her position to match those of her junior coalition partners.
‘Regarding foreign policy, as far as we know Meloni backs the sanctions against Russia and Brothers of Italy is closer to Poland’s PiS (governing party) than Hungary’s Fidesz,’ said Hungarian analyst Patrik Szicherle.
Meloni has ‘sent the right messages on Ukraine,’ said Martin Quencez of the German Marshall Fund, pointing out Italy’s critical relationship with the US as a reliable NATO ally.
Once elected prime minister, she ‘has every incentive to have good relations with Brussels, not to enter a pitched battle,’ said Paolo Modugno, professor of Italian civilisation at Paris’ Sciences Po university.
Meloni ‘is very aware of the Italian public’s problems, their fear of inflation and the economic situation. What’s urgent for her is to manage the crisis, not to take ideological risks,’ he added.
Analysts suggest that the incoming government’s choice of top ministers, especially in the finance and foreign ministries, will clearly signal how Meloni plans to position herself in Europe.