Italy: Berlusconi “reunited” with Putin, “I’m the first of his five true friends”

Silvio Berlusconi blamed Kiev for the invasion of Ukraine after saying in Italy on Wednesday he would “reunite” with Vladimir Putin, who sent him vodka for his birthday.

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Berlusconi in freewheel”, “Berlusconi without brake”, and also, the Repubblica, Giorgia “Meloni hosage of the Russiansars”: on Wednesday the Italian press gave a broad echo of the hopes made by the billionaire this week to representatives of his party, Forza Italia.

His words were leaked, and those around him initially denied it, but an audio recording was broadcast, shocking future prime minister Giorgia Meloni, who is working to form a government with his coalition partners, Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and Matteo Salvini’s League.

“For my birthday, Putin sent me 20 bottles of vodka and a nice letter. I responded by sending him bottles of Lambrusco and a nice letter. He told me that I was the first of his five true friends,” continued the former prime minister, who celebrated his 86th birthday on September 29.

Urgently, the Forza Italia party and Berlusconi issued a statement to clarify the position against Russia and Ukraine, “in line with Europe and America”.

Tajani became weak

Leftist opposition was deserted.

“This is not folklore, not jokes. The new majority begins a shift in Italy’s path towards an increasingly ambivalent stance towards Russia,” Democratic Party leader Enrico Letta condemned on Twitter.

Mr. Berlusconi’s – repeated – announcements could weaken the position of Antonio Tajani, a close, pro-European, approach to foreign affairs.

Georgia Meloney’s entourage tried to calm things down.

“I avoid implicating Tajani,” Francesco Lolobrigita, a Fratelli d’Italia deputy, said on Wednesday. “He was the president of the European Parliament (…) and always defended the Western alliance”, he underlined, after the occupation of Ukraine by Russia.

But for other sources in Fratelli d’Italia, quoted by La Stampa daily, “Berlusconi could have killed Tajani”.

During the election campaign, Berlusconi had already sparked outrage by saying he wanted to topple the Kyiv government to put Vladimir Putin’s “good guys” in its place.

In the rest of this audio recording, a new segment leaked on Wednesday evening, Mr. Berlusconi appears to be blaming the war on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who he says has “tripled attacks” against the self-proclaimed republics. Donbass.

“In 2014, in Minsk, Belarus, an agreement was signed between Ukraine and the two newly formed republics of the Donbass for a peace agreement, and no one attacks anyone. “A year later, Ukraine threw out the agreement and started attacking the borders of the two republics,” Mr Berlusconi told his elected officials.

He notes that “5-6-7 thousand people died” in these fights, then “Zelensky comes and triples the attacks against the two republics”, the president adds, and then resumes his comments at the end of September, according to which Putin was “pushed” by its population and its entourage. To invade Ukraine.

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