Only Russian President Vladimir Putin can bring an end to the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev, Italy’s former prime minister Mario Draghi has claimed. Russia, for its part, has repeatedly said it is open to talks, since negotiations with Kiev in Istanbul fell through in March.
“The prospects for peace are difficult even if a lot has changed in the last period: the channels of communication are much more open and China seems to be more active in staging negotiations,” Draghi stated, in an exclusive interview with the Corriere della Sera daily published on Saturday. He added that it was still only up to the Russian leadership to end its offensive against Ukraine.
During his time in office, Draghi became one of the most vocal proponents of Ukraine in the West, sending weaponry as well as rallying international support for the country. His support for Kiev ultimately became one of the reasons for Draghi’s downfall, as a disagreement over arms shipments caused a split in the Five Star Movement party, toppling his coalition government.
Still, the former PM stood by his policies, claiming that his strong support for Ukraine has thwarted Russia’s plans, as Moscow allegedly hoped for “ambiguity” in Rome.
“I was aware of the strong past ties between Italy and Moscow, but we could not remain passive in the face of unmotivated aggression and systematic violations of international law and human rights,” Draghi stated.
“However, the Kremlin has so far shown that it does not want peace,” he went on.
Moscow has repeatedly signaled readiness to negotiate with Ukraine but insists that any talks must take Russia’s interests into account. Russia has also blamed the lack of any diplomatic effort to end the conflict on Kiev and its willingness to continue hostilities.