Crisis in Ukraine, Draghi soon in Moscow. The attempt to mediate for a face to face between Putin and Zelensky

from Marco Galluzzo, sent to Brussels

Foreign Minister Lavrov in his meeting with Di Maio praised Italy’s position of dialogue and called for a vote against any sanctions.

At least on one thing Kiev and Moscow seem to agree. Italy can play an effective mediating role between the two positions. Mario Draghi’s speech can favor a rapprochement between the parties, contribute to a meeting between the two heads of state. According to Italian diplomatic sources it would have been the Kremlin directly to call for an Italian interventionbut at the same time also Zelensky would have asked for our help to have a face to face with Putin.

In any case, the news does not change: in the coming days Mario Draghi wanting to Moscow to have a meeting with the Russian president, after having one spoke on the phone with the Ukrainian president. The Russian Foreign Minister himself, Sergej Lavrovwho yesterday in the Russian capital received our Foreign Minister, Luigi Di Maio, praised the Italian position for the traditional capacity for dialogue, even calling for our vote against any Western sanctions, a single vote could block everything, Putin’s head of diplomacy suggested.

it was Draghi himself, on the sidelines of the European Council on Ukraine, who announced his trip to Moscow. The goal now is to get Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky to sit at the table. Italy is doing everything possible to support this direction. Zelensky in a phone call we had yesterday asked for a chance to be able to talk to President Putin and see if Italy could provide help on this front. The same request was addressed to others at the table of EU leaders today, explained Draghi. It will not be easy but the goal is that. All channels of dialogue must be used with the utmost determination, he stressed.

Our Prime Minister describes the situation in these terms: Basically the same as a few days ago, these episodes that seemed to herald a de-escalation they are not at the moment taken seriously. We must remain ready for any eventuality. Right now the strategy must be made up of two elements: the first is to reaffirm our unity. This is perhaps the factor that has most affected Russia. Initially it could be expected that being so different we would take different positions, but in the course of all these months we have done nothing but become smore and more united, many countries, not just the West. Because in NATO there are countries that do not belong to what we call the West. So the deployment of this unity is already something important in itself.

The second point, on the other hand, concerns the possible reaction that the West could put in place, and in this case for Draghi there is not the slightest possibility that Italy will carve out a position of equidistance between Moscow and the Western front, obviously starting from range of very harsh sanctions that Washington is studying in these hours: in fact we need to keep our deterrence strategy firm in this moment, be firm, show no weakness. Finally, a third point: It must be clearly stated, from the outset, that we cannot renounce what are the founding principles of the Atlantic Alliance. Together with everything we need to keep the dialogue as open as possible. And his upcoming mission to Moscow is proof of this. If Italy succeeded in what hitherto failed neither the French president or the German chancellor it would be a huge success.

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