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1 Nov, 2023 16:03

Ukraine conflict ‘fatigue’ is growing, Italian PM tells pranksters

Weariness and mounting problems in the EU necessitate a compromise, Giorgia Meloni said
Ukraine conflict ‘fatigue’ is growing, Italian PM tells pranksters

There is “a lot of fatigue” with the Ukraine conflict and EU nations will soon agree that it must be resolved through a compromise, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has told a pair of Russian pranksters.

Vovan and Lexus published the clip on Wednesday of their conversation with Meloni, which reportedly dates back to September and in which they posed as an unnamed African politician.

Discussing the Ukraine conflict, the Italian leader told the pair: “I see that there is a lot of fatigue, if I have to say the truth, from all the sides. We are near the moment in which everybody understands that we need a way out.”

“The problem is to find a way out which can be acceptable for both, without destroying the international law,” Meloni added.

The conversation then shifted to Kiev’s summer counteroffensive, the outcome of which the fake African politician suggested was a far cry from what many had expected. Meloni replied that the operation was ongoing, but acknowledged that it had not changed “the destiny of the conflict.”

“Everybody understands that it really could last many years, if we don’t try to find some solution,” Meloni stated. She then expressed concern that a badly-designed solution could trigger further conflicts, before criticizing what previously unfolded in Libya.

The North African nation was rocked by a NATO-backed anti-government uprising in 2011 which ousted longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi. More than a decade later, Libya remains split among warring factions and is economically devastated.

Italy has been the destination for a flow of illegal migrants departing from Libya and crossing the Mediterranean Sea in the hope of receiving shelter in the EU. Meloni accused Brussels of not doing enough to help Rome as she discussed the issue at length with the pranksters.

The conversation also touched on European energy security and how developing energy production in Africa could improve it. “We are going to an era when we can’t manage it no more. It’s already too late,” Meloni said.

Later on Wednesday, Meloni’s office said the phone call had taken place on September 18, ahead of meetings with African leaders at the UN General Assembly. It said it regretted that the prime minister had been deceived by a prankster posing as the head of the African Union Commission, Reuters reported.

Vovan and Lexus, whose real names are Vladimir Kuznetsov and Aleksey Stolyarov, have been pranking public figures for years with fake calls from people their targets trust. The pair usually goad their targets into saying things they might otherwise be unwilling to make public.

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