Wednesday 28 September 2022 01:56 PM 's Georgia Meloni says Ukraine can count on her 'loyal support' trends now

Wednesday 28 September 2022 01:56 PM 's Georgia Meloni says Ukraine can count on her 'loyal support' trends now
Wednesday 28 September 2022 01:56 PM Italy's Georgia Meloni says Ukraine can count on her 'loyal support' trends now

Wednesday 28 September 2022 01:56 PM Italy's Georgia Meloni says Ukraine can count on her 'loyal support' trends now

Italy's presumptive new prime minister Giorgia Meloni has reassured Ukraine she will continue to support their war effort against Vladimir Putin.

Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted a message of congratulations to the far-right Brothers of Italy leader, who secured the largest vote share in Sunday's elections and is set to be appointed the country's first ever female leader.

Zelensky said in Italian: 'We appreciate Italy's constant support for Ukraine in the fight against Russian aggression. 

'We are counting on a productive partnership with the new Italian government.' 

Meloni, who congratulated Putin for his election win in 2018 and is forming a coalition with Matteo Salvini and Silvio Berlusconi who have praised the Russian leader even throughout the war, assured voters she will back Ukraine.

Italy's presumptive new prime minister Giorgia Meloni has reassured Ukraine she will continue to support their war effort against Vladimir Putin

Italy's presumptive new prime minister Giorgia Meloni has reassured Ukraine she will continue to support their war effort against Vladimir Putin

Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted a message of congratulations to the Brothers of Italy leader

Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted a message of congratulations to the Brothers of Italy leader

She replied: 'You know that you can count on our loyal support for the cause of freedom of Ukrainian people. 

'Stay strong and keep your faith steadfast!' 

Outgoing Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has been one of the strongest backers of EU sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, despite his country's reliance on Russian gas.

Rome has also sent weapons to help Kyiv fight off President Vladimir Putin's forces.

Meloni is Eurosceptic but has backed Draghi's line on Ukraine and supports supplying arms so Kyiv can defend itself.

Last week, her coalition partner Berlusconi sparked fury by claiming Putin was 'pushed' into invading Ukraine and only wants to put 'decent people' in charge of Kyiv.

The Italian leader and former PM, whose Forza Italia party in the minor partner in the three-party union, is a long-time friend of Putin and his comments are likely to alarm Western allies now that he's back in government.

Zelensky said in Italian: 'We appreciate Italy's constant support for Ukraine in the fight against Russian aggression'

Zelensky said in Italian: 'We appreciate Italy's constant support for Ukraine in the fight against Russian aggression'

'Putin was pushed by the Russian people, by his party, by his ministers to come up with this special operation,' Berlusconi told Italian public television RAI late on Thursday, using the official Russian wording for the war.

Russia's plan was originally to conquer Kyiv 'in a week', and replace the democratically elected Zelensky with 'a government of decent people' and get out 'in another week,' he said.

'I haven't even understood why Russian troops spread around Ukraine while in my mind they should have only stuck around Kyiv', said the 85-year-old Berlusconi, who once described Putin as being like a younger brother.

Facing widespread condemnation from opponents for his words, Berlusconi released a statement on Friday saying his views had been 'oversimplified'.

'The aggression against Ukraine is unjustifiable and unacceptable, (Forza Italia's) position is clear. We will always be with the EU and NATO,' he said.

Reaction to Sunday's strong result for Meloni's Brothers of Italy party was muted from pillars of EU integration like Paris and Berlin, but right-wing Warsaw and Budapest were warm in their congratulations.

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