Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said according to that Handelsblatt in a TV interview on Thursday evening that Russian President Vladimir Putin was “urged” to invade Ukraine. Berlusconi stressed to the broadcaster Rai:
“Putin was urged by the Russian people, by one party, by his ministers to come up with this special operation.”
The 85-year-old is a longtime friend of the Russian President and was long reluctant to condemn the invasion after the war broke out. He means:
“Putin slipped into a really difficult and dramatic situation.”
Berlusconi went on to say that in February, representatives of the two self-proclaimed republics in the Donbass asked the Russian prime minister to intervene, as Ukraine had launched increasingly violent attacks on the areas.
According to Berlusconi, Putin wanted to replace Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s government in Kyiv “with a government of decent people”.
Reactions to Berlusconi’s words were not long in coming: Central candidate Carlo Calenda called Berlusconi’s appearance “really tragic” and called the Forza Italia founder “something between Putin’s press spokesman and military adviser”.
Former Prime Minister Enrico Letta of the Social Democrats tweeted on Friday:
“There are no words to comment on that.”
more on the subject – Berlusconi sees himself and Merkel as possible mediators in the Ukraine conflict