- Sputnik International, 1920, 25.02.2022
Situation in Ukraine
On 24 February, Russia launched a special military operation amid Kiev's ongoing shelling of the DPR and LPR. President Vladimir Putin stated that the op is meant to protect the people of Donbass, and its goal is the complete demilitarisation and denazification of Ukraine.

Italy's Matteo Salvini Speaks Out Against Finland, Sweden Joining NATO, Arms Deliveries to Ukraine

© AP Photo / Luca BrunoItalian Interior Minister and right-wing League leader Matteo Salvini, gestures as he arrives for a lunch at an hotel in Milan, Italy, Monday, July 2, 2018. The leader of the right-wing party in Italy's populist government told tens of thousands of supporters Sunday he wants to turn next year's European Parliament election into a referendum on immigration and job security
Italian Interior Minister and right-wing League leader Matteo Salvini, gestures as he arrives for a lunch at an hotel in Milan, Italy, Monday, July 2, 2018. The leader of the right-wing party in Italy's populist government told tens of thousands of supporters Sunday he wants to turn next year's European Parliament election into a referendum on immigration and job security - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.05.2022
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Moscow repeatedly warned the Western countries against delivering weapons for Ukraine, arguing that it only perpetuates the conflict and prevents a quick diplomatic resolution. The Kremlin also stated that Finland and Sweden's accession to NATO will prompt a proper response from Russia, which sees such steps as a threat.
The leader of Lega, Italian ruling coalition's party, Matteo Salvini has stood up against the idea of accepting Sweden and Finland in NATO as the former is considering to make this step in the nearest future and the latter have already decided to file a bid to join.

"Not now. Everything that delays the process of achieving peace should be put on a waiting list," he argued.

His position was backed by a fellow party member, Economic Development Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti, who argued that the accession to NATO of the two new countries located near Russia's borders, "will definitely not help to reduce the [duration of the Ukrainian] conflict".
This stance contradicts the official policy declared by Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio – a member of the Five Stars Movement. He stated at the G7 countries' meeting that Rome would back Finland and Sweden's bids to join the alliance.
NATO flag - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.05.2022
Finland Officially Decides to Apply for NATO Membership
The two countries, which have long maintained their neutral status, changed their tune following the start of the Russian special military operation in Ukraine on 24 February. Sweden has yet to make the final decision on the matter and announce its bid, but NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg already stated that the alliance will gladly welcome both states in its ranks.
Meanwhile, the president of Turkey, a NATO member-state, expressed concern over Finland and Sweden's bids to join the alliance. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that Ankara can't consider the prospect of the two countries joining the alliance as positive at the moment.

Lega Leader Against Arms Deliveries to Ukraine

Head of the Lega party Matteo Salvini also has spoken against sending more weapons to Ukraine, arguing that it does not help to stop the conflict.

"It is one thing to send economic and military assistance at the beginning [of the conflict...], it is another thing to do it now. Peace must be achieved, and sending weapons will not help," Salvini said.

Former Italian Prime Minister and leader of the Five Stars Movement, Giuseppe Conte, holds a similar stance, calling on more efforts to be made in the field of diplomacy instead of arms supplies to Ukraine.
Moscow has repeatedly urged the Western countries to stop supplying weapons to Ukraine, but these calls fell on deaf ears as these states started to ship heavy weaponry to Kiev. The Kremlin argued that such steps only perpetuate the conflict and delay the signings of an agreement that ends the Russian special operation. Moscow accused the West of waging a hybrid war against Russia and using Ukraine for its goals, trying to fight "until the last Ukrainian standing".
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