Time for diplomacy in Ukraine, Italy’s defence minister says

Russia has said it is ready for peace talks if Ukraine takes account of “new realities”, suggesting an acknowledgement that Russia controls about 17.5 per cent of Ukrainian territory.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has rejected any notion that Moscow is interested in talks, telling the Economist magazine this month that Russia would only agree to a pause in fighting if it needed a break to replenish its army.

“In Ukraine, the domestic front appears to be no longer as united as in the past in supporting President Zelenskiy’s policy, highlighting some divergences in the political discourse,” Crosetto said.

Zelenskyy has embarked on a flurry of international trips in recent weeks, trying to shore up Western support amid warnings that the Ukrainian military is running low on weaponry.

Italy last month passed a decree allowing it to carry on sending war supplies to Ukraine until the end of 2024. The government of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni also agreed to send Kyiv more materials to boost its defences.

Crosetto, a strong supporter of Kyiv and a senior member of Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party, reiterated that any peace talks had to clearly recognise Russia’s aggression against Ukraine in February 2022.

“The full territorial integrity and recognised borders of Ukraine remain the goal of the entire international community,” he said.

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