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Ukraine: Working to avert military escalation - Di Maio

Ukraine: Working to avert military escalation - Di Maio

NATO can't shut door on Kiev but reform process still incomplete

ROME, 08 February 2022, 13:54

Redazione ANSA




The Italian government is working to help avert a military escalation in Ukraine, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said Tuesday.
    "We are working to avert the concerning risk of a military escalation," he told the joint foreign and defence committees.
    "It would add to the already heavy consequences - in humanitarian, geopolitical and economic terms - of a conflict that started almost a decade ago on the fringes of Europe, just 200km from Trieste.
    "A conflict that from 2014 to today has already caused 15,000 victims including soldiers, fighters and civilians; a million and a half internal refugees in Ukraine, and 500,000 in Russia." The foreign minister went on to say that NATO could not close the door on Ukraine and Georgia.
    "NATO can certainly not renege on the 'Open Door' principle and commitments towards Kiev and Tbilisi taken in 2008 at the Bucharest Summit, which permit the entry of Ukraine and Georgia at a time in the future.
    "But we know this is a 'red line' for Moscow.
    "On the other hand the process of domestic reforms that Kiev has to enact to approach NATO standards is still incomplete".

Di Maio also said that Italy is working with its partners to "define a package of sustainable, gradual and proportionate measures" to show Moscow the "extremely high costs and consequences that an offensive would bring" and which would be "directly linked to concrete and objective developments on the ground".
Defence Minister Lorenzo Guerini went on to tell the joint committees that there were 130,000 Russian solders on the ground, corresponding to 81 battalions, "equipped with a significant number of armoured ground combat vehicles, tanks and artillery systems" on the Ukraine border.

Guerini said Russian aggression would have consequences and said "we should pursue the path of dialogue but send a clear message to Moscow" that any further incursion or invasion would be met with extremely heavy sanctions.



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