Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi criticized Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and blamed the Ukrainian government for the war.
This is evidenced by an audio recording published by the Italian publication LaPresse.
On it, Berlusconi tells how, in his opinion, the war in Ukraine started.
"It was like this: in 2014, an agreement was signed in Minsk between Ukraine and the two newly formed republics of Donbas on a peace agreement without attacking one another. Ukraine rejects the hell out of this agreement a year later and starts attacking the borders of the two republics. The two republics are suffering losses among the military — as I am told, up to 5,000-7,000 dead," said the ex-Prime Minister of Italy.
Then, according to Berlusconi, Zelensky came and "tripled the attacks on the two republics", which forced them to turn to Putin for help.
"In desperation, both republics [...] send a delegation to Moscow [...] and finally manage to talk to Putin. They say: "Vladimir, we donʼt know what to do, you protect us."
According to Berlusconi, Putin resisted, was under strong pressure from all of Russia and still decided to launch a "special operation".
"He entered Ukraine and faced an unpredictable situation of resistance from the Ukrainians, who on the third day began receiving money and weapons from the West. And the war, instead of a two-week operation, became a war of two hundred years. This is the situation with the war in Ukraine," said the former Italian Prime Minister.
He added that he does not know how Putin and Zelensky can sit down at the negotiating table.
“Because there is no possible way. Zelensky, in my opinion [...] forget about it, I canʼt say," concluded Berlusconi.
"Today, unfortunately, there are no leaders in the Western world, there are none in Europe and the United States of America. Iʼm not telling you what I know, but there are no real leaders. Do I make you smile? The only real leader is me," he added.
After the audio recording was released, Berlusconi called reporters and said that "the recorded words should be framed in a wider context."
The head of the Brothers of Italy party, Giorgia Meloni, whose political force as part of the coalition won the recent elections, reacted to Berlusconiʼs words. It is expected that she will become the new prime minister of the country in the near future.
"I intend to head the government with a clear and unambiguous foreign policy line. Italy has every right to be part of Europe and the Atlantic Alliance with its head held high. Anyone who disagrees with this cornerstone cannot be part of the government. Italy with us in the government will never be the weak link of the West, the unreliable nation that so many of our detractors like," Maloney said.
- At the beginning of September, former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said that he could act as a mediator in the negotiations between Ukraine and Russia. The second mediator, in his opinion, could be the ex-chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel.
- Giorgia Meloniʼs Brothers of Italy party is set to win the largest share of the vote in a coalition that includes the far-right League led by Matteo Salvini and Forza Italia led by Silvio Berlusconi. After winning the elections, the head of the Brothers of Italy assured the Ukrainian president of further support from Rome.