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4 Jan, 2023 20:30

Italy can’t be mediator in Ukraine crisis – Moscow

Rome is among those “pumping” Kiev with arms and prolonging the conflict, the Russian Foreign Ministry has claimed
Italy can’t be mediator in Ukraine crisis – Moscow

Italy cannot be a mediator in the conflict between Moscow and Kiev, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday. The remarks came in response to an earlier initiative voiced by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

“It is strange for us to hear mediation proposals from nations that have taken an unambiguous and quite aggressive anti-Russian position from the very beginning of the military operation in Ukraine,” Zakharova said in a statement published by the ministry.

Rome is among the countries that have openly supported Kiev and actively supplied it with “a wide range of arms,” including anti-personnel mines, the spokeswoman noted, adding that these “reckless actions only multiply the number of casualties, including among the civilians” and delay the end of the conflict.

Further weapon supplies to Ukraine could also put Kiev’s NATO backers at risk of becoming directly involved in a military conflict with Russia, Zakharova warned. However, Ukraine’s sponsors apparently have no plans of halting the deliveries and only wish to increase them, she added.

“In light of the agenda-driven stance taken by Italy, we obviously cannot consider it either an ‘honest broker’ or a potential peace process guarantor,” the official said.

Zakharova called on “European pseudo-peacemakers” to stop arming Kiev and focus on working with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky instead, who, according to her, has repeatedly “voiced his total rejection” of peaceful resolutions.

In her end-of-the-year speech, Meloni said she had previously told Zelensky about Rome’s readiness to “guarantee a possible peace agreement” and to “assist” the potential peace process. At the same time, she called “continued support to Ukraine” a “fundamental condition” to any such peace process and announced her plans to visit Kiev before the end of February.

Moscow has repeatedly suggested resuming the peace talks which were broken off in the spring, adding that Kiev could end the conflict in one day if it meets certain conditions set out by Russia. The Ukrainian government has rejected this proposal, and Zelensky has signed a decree banning any talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In mid-December, Kiev came up with its own “peace formula,” demanding Russia surrender all lands that Kiev considers its own. Moscow reacted to the plan by saying that Ukraine should take into account “the new realities,” such as the four former Ukrainian regions voting to join Russia last fall, and Crimea doing the same in 2014.