Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi Blames Ukrainian President Zelenskyy for the ongoing Russian invasion of Donbass, a region that Russia has illegally annexed. Berlusconi, a long-time friend and ally of Russian President Putin, criticized Zelenskyy’s behavior and accused him of attacking the autonomous republics of Donbass, which he claims led to the war in Ukraine. Berlusconi’s comments put him at odds with Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, whose government has been supportive of Ukraine’s fight against Russian aggression.
Meloni’s office quickly responded to Berlusconi’s comments, reaffirming the government’s solid and unwavering support for Ukraine. The office pointed out that the government’s backing for Ukraine is evident in both policy and parliament votes, which included weapons deliveries to Ukrainian forces.
Zelenskyy’s advisor, Oleg Nikolenko, slammed Berlusconi’s statements and accused him of spreading Russian propaganda. Nikolenko argued that by doing so, Berlusconi encourages Russia to continue its crimes against Ukraine and bears political and moral responsibility for his actions.
Berlusconi’s friendship with Putin has been a subject of concern for Meloni, who has taken a strong pro-NATO and pro-European position on Russia’s war in Ukraine. Berlusconi has previously boasted of re-establishing contact with Putin and exchanging gifts of vodka and wine on his 86th birthday in September, prompting Meloni to warn him.
In his latest remarks, Berlusconi suggested that US President Joe Biden could offer Zelenskyy trillions of dollars in rebuilding funds, similar to the Marshall Plan, to end the fighting. Berlusconi believes that such an offer would convince Zelenskyy to agree to a cease-fire.
Italian commentators have interpreted Berlusconi Blames Ukrainian as an attempt to bolster his weakened party against Meloni’s Brothers of Italy, which has been gaining in popularity.