election in Italy
Berlusconi excited: Putin was urged to go to war
Shortly before the elections in Italy, ex-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi caused outrage with a statement on the war in Ukraine. Concerns about Italy's support for Russia after the election are growing.
of Italy Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi caused a stir shortly before the parliamentary elections with a statement about Vladimir Putin.
In a TV interview on Thursday evening, the 85-year-old claimed that the head of the Kremlin had been pressured into invading Ukraine. "Putin was urged by the Russian people, by one party, by his ministers to come up with this special operation," he said Berlusconi in the radio station Rai.
Berlusconi is a friend of the Russian president and was reluctant to condemn the invasion after the war broke out. Now he said: "Putin has slipped into a really difficult and dramatic situation." He uses this term deliberately because representatives of the two self-proclaimed republics in Donbass asked Putin to intervene in February. These would have persuaded Putin with the assertion that Ukraine attack the areas more and more fiercely.
Statements lead to concern about Italy's proximity Russia
Furthermore, the party leader of Forza Italia, who as a smaller partner in a right-wing coalition has the best chance of winning the elections on Sunday, said Putin wanted to replace Volodymyr Zelensky's government in Kyiv "with a government of decent people".
The statements of the media entrepreneur, who, in addition to his politics, attracted attention through scandals, alarmed all those who fear that Italy will turn to Russia after the election. In addition to Berlusconi is also Matteo Salvini Part of the right-wing bloc - the head of the Lega was a Putin fan for years and criticizes the West's sanctions against Moscow.
Center candidate Carlo Calenda called Berlusconi's appearance "really tragic" and called the Forza Italia founder "something between Putin's press spokesman and military adviser."
Former Prime Minister Enrico Letta of the Social Democrats tweeted on Friday: "There are no words to comment on this."
On Thursday, the Russian embassy in Rome provoked a post on Facebook in which it published photos of Italian politicians at their meetings with Putin in previous years. Among them were Berlusconi and Salvini, but also other campaigners like Letta, Giuseppe Conte, Matteo Renzi or Luigi Di Maio and even President Sergio Mattarella and predecessor Giorgio Napolitano. "From the recent history of Russian-Italian relations," it said. "Some we must remember."