On 24 February, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the beginning of Moscow’s special military operation to demilitarise and de-Nazify Ukraine, stressing that Russia is not seeking to occupy the territory of its immediate neighbour.
With Volodymyr Zelensky’s address to Italian MPs slated for 22 March, several members from Italy’s ruling coalition of the 5 Star Movement and the League “would like to hear” Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Italian Parliament “as well” in order “to counterbalance” the Ukrainian president, according to La Repubblica.
The newspaper recalled that it was previously announced that Zelensky would speak before the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the Italian Parliament, via a video link next Tuesday, amid Russia’s ongoing special military operation in Ukraine.
Lawmaker Nicola Grimaldi told La Repubblica that he would like to “invite” Putin to address the Italian Parliament via a video call after Zelensky’s speech, something that was also welcomed by Grimaldi’s colleagues Davide Serritella and Gabriele Lorenzoni.
Serritella, for his part, argued that “inviting Putin to [Italy’s] parliament is a proposal of common sense”, adding that it would allegedly enable MPs “to press” the Russian president on a number of sensitive issues, including those related to the Ukraine crisis.
As for Grimaldi, he, along with four other colleagues from the 5 Star Movement and the League coalition, recently voted against a bill stipulating that Italy send “non-lethal” military help to Ukraine in a show of support for Kiev against Moscow.
Russia’s Special Op in Ukraine
The developments come as Russia continues its special military operation in Ukraine, which was announced by President Putin on 24 February and aims to demilitarise and de-Nazify the country. The operation was launched after a request for help from the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) amid continuing shelling of their positions and infrastructure by the Ukrainian Army. The operation is only targeting Ukraine’s military infrastructure with high-precision weapons, posing no threat to the civilian population, according to the Russian Defence Ministry.
Moscow and Kiev are currently in talks to resolve the conflict, with Russian presidential aide Vladimir Medinsky on Friday stressing that the sides have made progress on several issues during the negotiations, including Ukraine’s neutral status and its non-entry to NATO.
“The issue of the neutral status and non-entry of Ukraine to NATO is one of the key points of the negotiations, this is the point on which the parties have brought their positions as close as possible”, Medinsky said.
He added that “the nuances are related to what security guarantees Ukraine can receive in addition to existing ones, in case of its refusal to join NATO”. The statement came after Putin said earlier this week that the special operation is going as planned and that the tactics mapped out by the Russian Defence Ministry and the General Staff had justified themselves.