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Raisina Dialogue: Italian PM hits out at Russia over Ukraine offensive

ByRahul Singh
Mar 03, 2023 01:53 AM IST

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said Russia’s ongoing offensive in Ukraine is not just an act of war but against the territorial integrity of a sovereign nation and in violation of principles of international order

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Thursday hit out at Russia over its ongoing offensive in Ukraine, saying it was not just an act of war but against the territorial integrity of a sovereign nation and in violation of principles of international order, while reaffirming support to Kyiv and cheering the spirit of the Ukranian people.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni delivered her keynote address at the inaugural session of this year’s Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi on Thursday. (AFP)
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni delivered her keynote address at the inaugural session of this year’s Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi on Thursday. (AFP)

In her keynote address at the inaugural session of this year’s Raisina Dialogue, a multilateral conference that seeks to address pressing global issues, Meloni said, “I was in Kyiv last week, and witnessed the hard reality on ground. Russia’s attack is not simply an act of war or a localised conflict. It’s an act against territorial integrity of a sovereign nation in violation of the fundamental principle of global order that enables the international community to thrive.”

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She said during her visit to Kyiv, she felt the strength of the Ukraine’s national spirit amid the crisis and destruction caused by the war, which is now in its second year.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present at the inaugural session.

Watch |‘PM Modi most loved among global leaders’, says Italy premier Meloni

Meloni, the first woman PM of Italy, said the ongoing war in Europe was geographically distant from several parts of the world where people were dealing with their own hardships, but she cautioned that this should not overshadow the relevance of what was at stake.

“We cannot allow the very foundations of international law to be threatened. Without which, only military force would be taken into account and every state in the world would risk being invaded by its neighbour.” Her comments came on a day G20 foreign ministers gathered in New Delhi for a meeting under the shadow of the Ukraine crisis.

The 46-year-old leader said the international community could not sit idly in the face of the provocation in Ukraine, which threatened to undermine stability across the globe. “We cannot allow the law of the strongest to overcome the strength of law.”

She said regional affairs rapidly turned into global affairs in an interconnected world and unfortunately, Europe’s problems today had become the world’s problems. Europe’s geopolitical stance in the past few years was less vocal than what it could have been, but that is no longer the case, Meloni said.

The Italian leader said India and her country shared the profound conviction that only the rule of law can allow humanity to prosper and develop.

Meloni also said India was a key player in the Indo-Pacific even as she spoke about how freedom of navigation in the region was crucial for global trade. What happens in the Indo-Pacific has direct consequences for Europe and vice versa, she said. The comments come against the backdrop of a firm Chinese push for greater maritime influence in the far seas.

Proposing the vote of thanks, external affairs minister S Jaishankar said that the Italian PM had captured the state of the world in her address, and it was in line with theme of the conference - Provocation, Uncertainty, Turbulence: Lighthouse in the Tempest?

“I think a lot of us, certainly in India, can see the lighthouse shine quite brightly. It is up to each of us whether we put the focus on the tempest or the lighthouse. We believe for all challenges in the world, there is leadership, vision and solutions,” he added.

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