Berlusconi blames Zelensky for Ukraine war – Politico

Who is responsible for the war in Ukraine? Not Vladimir Putin, but Volodymyr Zelensky, according to former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

“All [Zelenskyy] The attack on the two autonomous republics of Donbas had to be stopped and it would not have happened,” Berlusconi told Italian media on Sunday evening after voting in Lombardy regional elections, which are set to be the first major political test for Prime Minister Georgia. Meloni’s right-wing coalition.

“I judge the behavior of this gentleman very, very negatively,” Berlusconi added.

He also said the war could end if US President Joe Biden threatened to end military and financial aid to Ukraine and asked Zelensky to order a cease-fire in exchange for a “six, seven, eight, nine billion dollar Marshall Plan”. Reconstruction of the country.

Berlusconi, who has been prime minister for nearly a decade, is now a senator and head of conservative Forza Italia, the junior member of the ruling coalition.

The 86-year-old described Putin as one of his closest friends and was among the few Western politicians on the Kremlin’s year-end wish list.

In an interview with public broadcaster Rai last September, Berlusconi said Russian troops behind the Russian invasion of Ukraine planned to enter “to replace Zelensky’s government with a decent people’s government within a week”.

The Italian government reaffirmed its “strong and convincing” support for Ukraine in a statement issued just an hour after Berlusconi’s comments, according to Italian wire ANSA.

Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani – a member of Forza Italia and a close ally of Berlusconi – later said Twitter His party “always stood for Ukraine’s independence, with Europe, NATO and the West.”

Asked about Meloni’s recent attack on not being invited to a dinner with Zelensky in Paris, Berlusconi said that if he were in office he “wouldn’t have gone there to talk to Zelensky”.

Elena Giordano contributed reporting.