Italy calls for Ukraine truce, peace talks with Putin - newspaper

  • World
  • Monday, 06 May 2024

Italian Minister of Defence Guido Crosetto arrives to take part in the European Air Defence Conference gathering 18 Defence ministers, at Les Invalides in Paris on June 19, 2023. GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

ROME (Reuters) - Italy's Defence Minister said on Monday economic sanctions against Russia had failed and called on the West to try harder to negotiate a diplomatic solution with President Vladimir Putin to end the war in Ukraine.

Guido Crosetto told daily Il Messaggero that the West had wrongly believed its sanctions could stop Russia's aggression, but it had overestimated its economic influence in the world.

"Instead ... the only way to resolve this crisis is to involve everyone, first (to obtain) a truce and then peace," Crosetto said.

In answer to the interviewer's objection that Putin had shown no willingness to negotiate, Crosetto replied: "that is a good reason for us to try harder. We mustn't give up any possible path of diplomacy, however narrow."

However, Crosetto defended Italy's decision to continue to send arms to Ukraine, saying this was aimed at obtaining "the time and the conditions to achieve a truce and peace."

Italy this year holds the rotating presidency of the Group of Seven major democracies.

In other remarks, Crosetto said that if Russian troops were to occupy Kyiv, it would "inevitably lead to a clash with other nations, which would not accept Russian tanks on their borders."

The Italian minister also said that Ukraine's counter-offensive against Russia last summer had been a mistake given Russia's military superiority.

Crosetto said he had personally warned Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that it was doomed to failure, "but I wasn't listened to."

(Reporting By Gavin Jones, editing by Gianluca Semeraro)

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