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4 Nov, 2023 11:14

Adviser to Italian PM resigns over Russian prank call

Georgia Meloni has said that Francesco Talo took the blame for a phone conversation during which she admitted ‘fatigue’ with Ukraine
Adviser to Italian PM resigns over Russian prank call

Francesco Talo, a diplomatic adviser to Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, has resigned after his boss’ recent phone conversation with Russian pranksters resulted in the public release of Meloni’s unfiltered comments on the Ukraine conflict and domestic issues.

Meloni announced Talo’s resignation on Friday during a Council of Ministers’ press conference. Answering a question about the prank call, the prime minister said that she had “had a doubt,” which she shared with the diplomatic office. 

However, there was “a superficiality in proceeding,” which prompted the adviser’s resignation, she added. 

She called Talo’s decision “a gesture of great responsibility,” noting that his tenure of service had amounted to several decades.

Regarding her statements about fatigue over the Ukraine conflict made during the prank call, Meloni argued that she “said nothing new” and added that “public opinion, including our own, is suffering from the consequences” of it. 

On Wednesday, Russian pranksters Vovan and Lexus released the recording, dated from late September, where they spoke with Meloni while posing as an unnamed African politician. During the conversation, the Italian prime minister admitted that there was “a lot of fatigue” with the Ukrainian conflict, adding it was near “the moment in which everybody understands that we need a way out.”

These revelations come amid fears that Western support for Kiev is dwindling while the world’s attention’s has turned to the war in Gaza. In an interview with The Times published on Monday, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky expressed concern that “exhaustion with the war rolls along like a wave.” “You see it in the United States, in Europe,” he claimed, adding that it “is becoming like a show for them.”

On Friday, the US House of Representatives passed a $14.3 billion aid bill for Israel that does not include support for Ukraine, despite a White House statement that President Joe Biden would veto it. At the same time, the EU failed to agree on a budget allocating €50 billion in aid to Kiev.

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