Italian defense chief Guido Crosetto has told MPs that Rome will diversify its strategy, while continuing to back Kiev with weapons
The conditions are ripe for a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine conflict and Italy will focus more on achieving this, Defense Minister Guido Crosetto has said. The official added that this does not mean the suspension of weapons deliveries to Ukraine, describing the new approach as a “dual-track strategy.”
Addressing lawmakers in the Italian parliament on Wednesday, Crosetto stressed the importance of a balance between “deterrence and diplomacy” in the coming months. “We have two paths: that of aid without ‘ifs and buts’ – and that of attempting to build a diplomatic path that brings us to the end of the conflict,” the defense chief said.
Crosetto argued that the prospects of a “negotiated settlement” now seem more realistic because the “domestic front [in Ukraine] no longer appears as united as in the past in supporting President [Vladimir] Zelensky’s policies.” The minister also suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin is more inclined toward peace talks than before, claiming he is faced with mounting sanctions pressure and growing conflict fatigue at home.
In addition, Crosetto called into question Ukraine’s ability to further “counter Russian forces… in a condition of persistent numerical and air inferiority,” warning that this year would prove “critical” for Kiev.
The minister stressed at the same time that Italy’s “support for Ukraine remains strong and totally unchanged,” as its withdrawal or reduction would be a “dramatic strategic and political mistake.”
Crosetto made similar remarks last month, declaring that Kiev has little chance of achieving its maximalist goals militarily.
Ukrainian leader Zelensky signed a decree in October 2022 ruling out any negotiations with the current Russian leadership. Ukraine insists on the restoration of its sovereignty over all the territory within its 1991 borders, reparations for damage caused by Moscow’s actions, and a trial for Russian military commanders for alleged war crimes. Russia has repeatedly dismissed these conditions as divorced from reality. However, Moscow has stressed it is open to talks in principle, as long as its core interests are taken into account.
Speaking during a recent press conference, President Putin reiterated that Russia is determined to achieve its goals in the neighboring country, and that its aims remain the same. Among other conditions, Russia insists on neutral status for Ukraine and renunciation of its NATO membership aspirations.