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Meloni: Italy to provide air defense but no jets. For now

#StandWithUkraine
February 22,2023 722
Meloni: Italy to provide air defense but no jets. For now

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s two-day visit to Kyiv demonstrated that her government would keep supporting Ukraine – an important signal to Putin, who made it clear that he strived to strengthen Russia’s positions in Italy, according to LB.ua.

“You, Ukrainians, have proven that you are an extraordinary nation. For the whole world, Ukraine has already won the fight to regain its identity,” she said in response to Putin’s aggressive rhetoric.

Meloni arrived in Kyiv on Feb. 20 on her first trip to Ukraine since Russia started the all-out war against Ukraine a year ago, according to The Kyiv Independent.

She met with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, and they signed a declaration reaffirming Italy’s continuing support for Ukraine, its European and NATO integration, and efforts to implement the peace formula outlined by Zelensky.

Meloni said that under its new military aid package, Italy will provide Ukraine with Spada and Skyguard air defense systems beyond the SAMP-T/Mamba, which it earlier pledged to deliver.

The prime minister also announced a Ukraine Recovery Conference to be hosted by Italy in April.

However, Meloni ruled out supplying Western fighter jets to Ukraine for now.

“Currently, there is no question of sending aircraft, and this decision must be made with international partners. We have focused on air defense systems, SAMP/T, Spada, and Skyguard. The priority is to protect infrastructure and civilian population,” she said at a joint news conference with Zelensky.

Before the meeting with the Ukrainian president, Meloni went to the war-battered towns of Bucha and Irpin on the outskirts of Kyiv – sites of mass war crimes committed by the Russian military, Reuters reported.


Photo: ANSA

In Bucha, she shed tears and covered her mouth in horror as she was shown round a church containing a photo exhibition of dead civilians.

“Italy and Ukraine share a common vision of the value of peace,” Zelensky said at the news conference. “Ukrainians and Italians are among those nations that especially cherish life, cherish family, kinship and the opportunity to be with their loved ones. That is why we are striving together to stop the Russian terror as soon as possible, to stop this absolutely unprovoked and aggressive war of Russia against the people of Ukraine.”

Italy is among the top ten donors to Ukraine, having provided over €800 million in aid, according to LB.ua.