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Time for incisive diplomacy in Ukraine, said Italy’s defense minister

Guido Crosetto urges Ukraine-Russia negotiations for the third time in recent months.
The time for incisive diplomacy in Ukraine, said Italy's defence minister
Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto. Photo: Guido Crosetto via Facebook

Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto has urged diplomacy between Russia and Ukraine, adding that steadfast Western backing is crucial to enable serious negotiations. He made the remarks during an address to parliament.

Earlier, Volodymyr Zelenskyy has dismissed any suggestion Moscow wants talks, telling the Economist Russia would only agree to a pause if it needed time to replenish its depleted armed forces.

Crosetto said Ukraine’s 2022 counteroffensive had not produced the intended outcome and the military situation had to be viewed realistically.

“From this perspective … it would seem that the time has come for incisive diplomacy, alongside military support, because there are a number of important signals coming from both sides,” Crosetto said.

Crosetto claimed Russia is “gradually demonstrating a willingness to negotiate and protect its economy,” while Ukraine’s stance “appears less uncompromising than before.”

He argued President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s domestic support “is no longer as united as before,” highlighting divergences in political discourse.

Nonetheless, Crosetto stressed any peace talks must clearly recognize Russia’s aggression against Ukraine beginning February 2022, and Ukraine’s full territorial integrity within internationally recognized borders remains the goal of the international community.

Last month, Italy passed a decree to continue providing military supplies to Ukraine through the end-2024. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s government also agreed to send additional defense materials to Kyiv.

Crosetto had already called for negotiations with Russia in November and December 2022.

The New York Times reported that Vladimir Putin has been signaling through unofficial diplomatic channels a willingness to agree to a ceasefire in Ukraine and freeze fighting along current front lines.

At the same time, Putin has stated Russia does not intend to abandon its “goals” in Ukraine.

According to German newspaper Bild, Russians aim to gain full control of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts by end-2024, reach the Oskil River in Kharkiv Oblast, and capture the cities of Kharkiv, Dnipro and Zaporizhzhia by 2026.

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