Follow live the latest news on the war in Ukraine
Former prime minister qualifies his statements and claims they were “taken out of context”
Former Italian Prime Minister and president of the Forza Italia party, Silvio Berlusconi, has claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine “pushed” by his party and his ministers and added that, because of this situation, the president “invented the special operation”.
“Putin has fallen into a truly difficult and dramatic situation,” Berlusconi has pointed out in an interview to the Italian TV channel Rai 1, in which he has pointed out that “the two pro-Russian republics went to Moscow, talked to everyone, radio, press, television, party people, ministers, and went to Putin and told him: ‘Zelenski has increased the attacks of his forces against ours and our borders. There are 16,000 dead. Please defend us.'”
“Putin was pushed to invent this special operation by the Russian people, the party, the ministers,” Berlusconi stressed, who said that, according to Moscow’s plans, “the troops should have arrived in Kiev in a week and replaced Zelenski’s government with one of decent people, to return a week later,” as reported by the Italian news agency AdnKronos.
Thus, he has stressed that the Russian forces “met with unexpected resistance from the Ukrainian troops, who received weapons of all kinds from the West.” “As of today the deaths are increasing and the situation is difficult to control. I do not understand why, Russian troops are scattered in Ukraine, when, in my opinion, they should have stopped around Kiev,” he said.
“I feel bad when I hear about dead people. I have always considered war to be the madness of madnesses. Seeing what is happening now, with people killing, I consider it something unimaginably insane,” assessed Berlusconi, who has shown his support for sending arms to Ukraine. “We cannot, for any reason, break our participation in NATO, the EU and with the United States,” he concluded.
Hours later, Berlusconi himself has come out against the controversy unleashed by his statements and said that they have been “taken out of context.” “It was enough to see the whole interview and not just one sentence taken out of context, synthesized for reasons of time, given that simplification sometimes gives rise to error, to know what my thinking is, which on the other hand has been known for some time.”
“Perhaps it was a misunderstanding or that the chronicler referred to the thoughts of others,” said the former prime minister, who stressed that “aggression against Ukraine is unjustifiable and unacceptable.” “The position of Force Italy is clear: we will not participate for any reason or motive in a breakup of our participation in the EU and NATO,” he has indicated.
In this regard, the vice president of Force Italia, Antonio Tajani, has stressed that “Berlusconi’s phrase was taken out of context” and added that “the condemnation of Russia is clear.” “We must listen to the whole interview and not extrapolate a sentence that summarized an analysis of what is happening in Moscow, not what Berlusconi thinks,” said the former president of the European Parliament.
“The position is very clear. There is no possibility of a debate with Russia. Russia invaded Ukraine. The condemnation is clear and total, the position cannot change. We are on the side of NATO, the West, the EU and the United States,” he stressed. “We are against the invasion of Ukraine. We condemn it and have dedicatedly backed support to Ukraine, including sending weapons,” he has reminded.
For his part, the leader of the far-right League, Matteo Salvini, has declined to “interpret” Berlusconi’s words and has pointed out that his party “will do everything possible to stop the war once it reaches the government.” “Before, the assessment of Putin was positive, by everyone, but there is no justification for those who launch an invasion,” he added.
In a more critical tone has been expressed by the leader of the Democratic Party, Enrico Letta, who has affirmed that the statements of the former Italian prime minister are “scandalous” and “extremely serious.” “They are words that go beyond the imaginable and that satisfy Putin,” said Letta, who asked the leader of Brothers of Italy, Giorgia Meloni, if she “shares them.”
Action leader Carlo Calenda has stressed that Berlusconi’s words are “truly tragic” and has described the leader of Forza Italia as “someone between Putin’s spokesman and a military advisor,” German news agency DPA has picked up. Calenda announced in August an alliance with Matteo Renzi, leader of Italia Viva, in view of this Sunday’s elections.