excitement just before the elections
Italy’s Berlusconi defends Putin
Silvio Berlusconi, former Prime Minister of Italy and a self-confessed supporter of Putin, caused an uproar shortly before the Italian elections. He claims on TV that Vladimir Putin was forced into war.
Forza Italia chairman Silvio Berlusconi causes an uproar ahead of the Italian elections.
Italy’s former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (85) caused a stir shortly before the parliamentary elections with a statement about Vladimir Putin (69).
In a TV interview on Thursday evening, the politician claimed that the head of the Kremlin had been pressured into invading Ukraine. “Putin was urged by the Russian people, by a party, by his ministers to come up with this special operation,” Berlusconi said on 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. They persuaded Putin by claiming that Ukraine was attacking the areas more and more violently.
Putin wanted to replace government in Kyiv
Furthermore, the party leader of Forza Italia, who, as a smaller partner in a right-wing coalition, has the best chance of winning the election on Sunday, said that Putin wanted to replace the government in Kyiv by Volodymyr Zelensky (44) “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, Matteo Salvini is also 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.”
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.” (SDA/chs)