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Meloni plays down importance of Salvini's Russia comments

Meloni plays down importance of Salvini's Russia comments

Decisions and votes are what counts says premier

ROME, 20 March 2024, 16:31

ANSA English Desk



Premier Giorgia Meloni on Wednesday played down the importance of controversial comments on Russian President Vladimir Putin's election win by her deputy, Transport Minister Matteo Salvini, saying that the facts showed her government was solidly behind Ukraine as it fights the Russian forces of invasion.
    On Monday League leader Salvini said that "when a people votes, it is always right" in relation to the Russian election.
    Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, on the other hand, said that the election was not "free or fair," adding that it was "characterized by strong pressure, including violent pressure" and that opposition leader Alexei Navalny was excluded from the vote "via homicide".
    "I get told to talk to (Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor) Orban and Salvini to clarify (their stance on) support for Ukraine," Meloni told the Lower House as she reported to parliament ahead of this week's European summit.
    "In both cases the decisions and votes are what count.
    "The Italian government has a clear position and in the EU we have managed to secure the revision of the multi-year budget that allows for support for Ukraine for the next 4 years".
    Meloni herself called the Russian elections in occupied territories "a sham" on Tuesday while saying late Russian dissident and opposition leader Alexei Navalny's sacrifice "will not be forgotten", in contrast to Salvini's saying the causes of his death in a Siberian jail were not clear.
    On Wednesday Meloni also highlighted differences within the opposition over Ukraine, with the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) largely in favour of the policy of giving military aid to Ukraine and the 5-Star Movement (M5S) against.
    "It seems to me that the biggest issue (on Ukraine) is the famous broad field (opposition)," Meloni said.
    "I'm not talking about the crystal clear position of the M5S, but also the ambiguity of those who tell us what to do and then abstain on the vote on sending arms to Ukraine.


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