“President Putin, I am calling you to talk about peace.” This was how the Wednesday telephone conversation between Mario Draghi (the Italian Prime Minister) and Vladimir Putin (the Russian President) began. As the Italian president confessed yesterday, for Moscow a ceasefire in Ukraine is still “premature”. “There is a desire to achieve peace, but it is too early to overcome skepticism. We have to keep our feet on the ground”The head of the Italian Government.
The Italian Prime Minister, who was speaking in Rome in front of international media, gave details about the conversation between the leaders. He also stated that Putin had told him that there were “small steps forward” in negotiations. Draghi chose to remain cautious and reiterated the necessity to keep the economic sanctions against Moscow imposed by the European Union (and the United States) “Everyone wants to negotiate so that the massacre ends. Problem is to find out if you can also live in these conditions. Russia He wants peace. This is not the case. Only Ukraine’s defense has stopped the invasion.”
Draghi was highly praised by the European Union for its “compact” response against the Russian invasion. “Defend the world order, the rules that we gave ourselves after the Second World War. And when these fundamentals are violated, we must react and reaffirm the values of multilateralism and peace”. The Italian Prime Minister appealed for the establishment of a common European defense. This is a fight he has been fighting since February 2021 when he became president. He considers it a crucial step in European construction.
The Government’s plans were approved by the Italian Senate just a few hours prior to appearing before the press. Forecasts predict a 2% increase in Defense item.As agreed by NATO countries in 2014. However, the increase in military expenditures has split the majority of parliamentary support for the Unity Executive, headed by the economist.
The telephone conversation between Draghi, Putin focused on Moscow’s request to begin charging Russian gas in rubles. Draghi countered with a blanket ultimatum, which Draghi understood was “violating the contracts in effect”. “I send you President Putin’s words: The existing contracts remain in force,” declared the Italian president. He also announced the availability to the Russian president so that European companies could continue to pay for Russian gas in dollars or euros.
The Prime Minister of Italy acknowledged that Russia’s dependence on energy -Italy consumes almost 40% of all the gas it imports – means some European countries are financing Putin’s war. For this reason, he advocated the need for structural reforms to allow EU countries to become energy independent. In this context, the Italian Prime Minister celebrated the pact made between Spain and Italy at last European Council in an attempt to fix a price limit for gas and to “break” the mechanism which associates gas prices with electricity.
The European energy map is being updated. The Mediterranean countries have a great opportunity, and could be, according to the Italian Prime Minster, “an important centre of operations for both gas now, and hydrogen tomorrow.””. In this regard, Draghi acknowledged having recently held a conversation with the Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, about the possibility of building a gas pipeline between Italy and Spain, although for the time being “it is only a hypothesis that has to be studied”.