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  4. Report of Salvini-Russian ambassador dinner sparks rumpus

Report of Salvini-Russian ambassador dinner sparks rumpus

League leader called on to give clarification

(ANSA) - ROME, MAY 31 - League leader Matteo Salvini was at the centre of a political row on Monday over a report that he had dinner with Russia's Ambassador to Italy Sergey Razov at the embassy in Rome on March 1, just days after Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.
    According to the report in daily newspaper Domani, the office of Premier Mario Draghi knew nothing about the meeting.
    Salvini was reportedly accompanied by Antonio Capuano, a foreign-policy advisor to the League leader who is also a lawyer and a former MP for the centre-right Forza Italia party of three-time ex-premier and media mogul Silvio Berlusconi.
    Capuano is said to have been working on a mooted trip to Moscow by Salvini to seek to broker a peace agreement with a four-point plan, an idea that has caused considerable controversy too.
    The report in Domani said there were other meetings involving Salvini, Capuano and Razov in the middle of March and early April, long after Russia invaded on February 24.
    The centre-left Democratic Party (PD), which, like the League, is part of the coalition supporting Draghi's government, demanded an explanation.
    "We are calling for answers," said PD leader Enrico Letta.
    "This affair cannot end like this.
    "While the crisis was happening, there were negotiations, and it is not clear between who and in what way, between the Russian invader and an Italian government party.
    "So we call for clarity.
    "It can't end with us agreeing to disagree over wine and crackers" Salvini hit back, saying his efforts were motivated by the quest for peace.
    "We've been working for peace for weeks, engaging in dialogue with everyone to achieve a ceasefire, while the PD only talks of weapons and war," Salvini said via Twitter.
    Salvini had expressed admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin on several occasions before the war in Ukraine.
    The League leader has condemned Moscow's invasion of its neighbour.
    He has also said he is not in favour of Italy sending any more weapons to Kyiv on top of the ones it has already supplied.
    Adolfo Urso, the president of Copasir, the parliamentary body that oversees Italy's intelligence services, said Tuesday that the committee was looking into Capuano's reported relations with foreign diplomats. Draghi told a press conference after an EU summit that the important thing with Salvini's reported trip and relations with Russia was that they were "transparent", and that the government remained aligned to the EU and G7 positions.

 

(ANSA).
   

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