Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has been justified by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who claims that Putin was “pushed” into the conflict.
The 85-year-old claimed that the purpose of the Russian military was to remove the current administration and replace it with “good people” before returning home.
The three-time Italian prime minister is the Russian president’s longtime buddy.
In an election for a new government in Italy this weekend, his party is anticipated to win as a component of a right-wing coalition.
According to Mr. Berlusconi, the media in Moscow fabricated a story saying that the Ukrainian government was murdering Russian speakers in the eastern part of the nation.
He said that as a result of the reporting, which was supported by nationalist and separatist lawmakers in the Russian government, Mr. Putin had no choice but to start a modest invasion.
He said that Putin was pressured to create this secret operation by the Russian people, his party, and his ministers.
According to Mr. Berlusconi, “the forces were meant to enter, arrive in Kyiv in a week, remove the corrupt Zelensky administration, and then leave and return in a week.”
However, they encountered a surprising resistance that was later fueled by weapons of every description coming from the West.
Carlo Calenda, the head of the Centrist Party, charged that Mr. Berlusconi was speaking “like a Putin general” in the opposition leaders’ swift condemnation of his remarks.
The involvement, according to Enrico Letta of the center-left Democratic Party, also demonstrated that Putin would be the happiest person if Sunday’s election is favorable to the right.
However, Mr. Berlusconi made an effort to rephrase his remarks on Friday, claiming that they had been “oversimplified.”
“[Forza Italia’s] view is very clear: the attack on Ukraine is unjustified and unacceptable. The EU and NATO will always have our support “he stated.
Long a supporter of Mr. Putin, Mr. Berlusconi went skiing in Sochi, Russia, with the then-prime minister in 2012.
However, he denounced the invasion in April and expressed his “great disappointment and sadness” over Mr. Putin’s actions, saying that the “massacres of people in Bucha and other towns are true war crimes.”
In preparation for the general election on Sunday, the leader of the Forza Italia party is presently running for office.
The hard-right Brothers of Italy party of Giorgia Meloni and the populist Lega Nord party of Matteo Salvini serve as the alliance’s junior partners. The bloc is expected to secure a majority, according to polls.
Ms. Meloni, who is anticipated to lead any future administration, has vowed to maintain Italy’s support for Ukraine despite Mr. Berlusconi’s previous closeness with Mr. Putin and Mr. Salvini’s condemnation of Western sanctions on Russia.
She stated earlier this month that “the struggle aimed at changing the global order” is only the tip of the iceberg. Therefore, this conflict must be waged.