The leader of the far-right League party, Matteo Salvini, has ruled out Thursday that Russian authorities are behind the crisis unleashed within the Italian government and that led to the fall of the now acting prime minister, Mario Draghi, who resigned a week ago after losing the support of his coalition partners.
Salvini, who asserted that accusations against Moscow for allegedly influencing the country’s domestic politics are “nonsense,” stressed that Italy “is with NATO, but also seeks good relations with (Vladimir) Putin.” “It is common sense that takes precedence,” he has said.
“This is nothing but nonsense. I have worked for peace and against war, which is causing deaths and economic problems for the whole world,” he said in statements to the Radoi24 radio station.
In this sense, he has cleared the doubts about the alleged contacts between one of his advisors, Antonio Capuano, and several high Russian officials, with whom he would have met at the end of May at the Russian Embassy to talk about the Draghi government.
“International politics is independent of governments,” the former Italian Interior Minister has qualified. “We are pro-European and Atlanticist, but this does not mean that we cannot have good relations with Putin. The war will end sooner or later and those who have made mistakes will pay,” he continued.
Moreover, he has insisted that he is a “reliable ally for the Italians, as well as for the leader of the Brothers of Italy party, Giorgia Meloni, and the president of the Forza Italia party, Silvio Berlusconi, with whom he has reached an agreement in view of the next elections, scheduled for September 25. “Common sense has won (…) It is the President of the country who gives the mandate, the Constitution says so, and what the Italians decide is sacred”, he pointed out.
His words come after Draghi himself stressed the need to “take measures to combat the interference of Russia and other autocracies in domestic politics and Italian society.”
“Italy is a free and democratic country, so we have to respond to those who want to seduce us with an authoritarian model in order to strengthen European values,” he said at the time in comments that were rejected by the Russian government.