Italian Prime Minister Says Putin Doesn’t Want to Stop the War in Ukraine, Won’t Meet Zelenskyy – According to the Italian newspaper Sky Italia, Russian President Vladimir Putin is not ready to end the war in Ukraine and will not hold a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
“We had not spoken to Putin since before the war began, I started the phone call clarifying the reason for the talks, that is, to talk about peace. Then I asked when a ceasefire is planned, even temporary, but President Putin said that the conditions are not ripe. Today, however, the news of the humanitarian corridor of Mariupol has come out,” Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said in a press conference with the Foreign Press Association on Thursday.
He described how, in a phone call with the Russian leader, he expressed his belief that a meeting between Putin and Ukraine’s Zelenskyy is essential to “resolve certain crucial issues.” However, Putin told the Italian PM that the “time is not yet ripe” and that negotiators need to make more progress.
“Putin said that in his opinion there are small steps forward in the negotiations and in fact the positions of the two sides on various issues have come a little closer,” he said, adding that he remains skeptical of Putin’s claims.
Draghi Says Russia Withdrew Demand for Ruble Payments for Gas
In the same press conference, Prime Minister Draghi also suggested that Italy is not at risk of being cut off from Russian gas supplies after Putin backed off from his demand that the country pays for energy in rubles.
“No, they are not in danger,” Draghi said about Russian gas supply to Italy.
The Italian PM said that there has been a “process of reflection” in Russia that has led to a “better definition” of what it really means to pay for gas in rubles. He said that the demands actually meant that there would be a “conversion” of payments that remain a matter for the Russian Federation.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, however, insisted once again on Thursday that all “unfriendly” countries – presumably those who have levied sanctions against Russia – would be required to pay for gas and oil in rubles.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.