Salem Radio Network News Sunday, July 3, 2022

World

Italy’s Draghi calls for urgent ceasefire in Ukraine

By Gavin Jones and Angelo Amante

ROME (Reuters) -Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi called for an urgent ceasefire in Ukraine so that serious negotiations can begin to end the war and said Italy would continue supporting Ukraine, without ruling out the supply of weapons.

Draghi, who has taken a hard line against Russia since its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, said it was important to maintain pressure through economic sanctions “because we have to bring Moscow to the negotiating table.”

“A ceasefire must be achieved as soon as possible,” Draghi told the upper house Senate in Rome, opening a debate on Italy’s role in backing Ukraine which is creating growing tensions in his ruling majority.

Draghi made no direct mention of whether Italy would continue to supply arms to Kyiv, something which is opposed by the 5-Star Movement and the right-wing League, key stakeholders in his multi-party coalition.

However, he indicated he was not ready to rule out further weapons shipments. Italy has so far adopted three decrees authorising arms shipments but the government has not revealed which type of weapons were supplied.

“Italy will continue to support the Ukraine government in its efforts to repel the Russian invasion. We will do so in close coordination with our European partners,” he said.

There is little public support in Italy for supplying military assistance for Ukraine, opinion polls show.

The prime minister said Italy would do all it could to promote a negotiated settlement to the war, but any deal must have the full backing of Ukraine in order to be sustainable.

Draghi spoke as Moscow said on Thursday that Ukrainian fighters had surrendered in Russian-held Mariupol as it shored up a key gain in the south of the country.

Moscow says it is engaged in a “special military operation” to demilitarise and “denazify” its neighbour. The West and Kyiv call that a false pretext for invasion.

Draghi said sanctions imposed on Moscow so far by the European Union and the G7 had a significant impact on the Russian economy and this will “become even stronger in coming months.”

(Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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