ITALY ON THE ORBIT OF CONTAINING RUSSIA
The Italian government continues to consistently support Ukraine and limit Russia's influence on the continent. Since the onset of Russia's aggression, official Rome has consistently supported Kyiv and participated in expanding anti-Russian sanctions. Some warnings about the "pro-Russian" freshness of the new right-center government led by Giorgia Meloni did not materialize. Members of the government coalition, Silvio Berlusconi and Matteo Salvini, who had previously often personally interacted with Putin, have taken a pro-Ukrainian stance and advocated for "taming the country that has lost any touch with reality." Italian politicians' position is influenced by public opinion, which fluctuates between 63% - 78% in support of Ukraine.
Italy has managed to overcome its gas dependency on Russia. Minister of Environment and Energy Picketto Fratin presented an updated gas supply statistics in April of this year. According to his data, Italy has decreased its share of Russian gas in imports from 40% to 10%. It became possible due to an increase in supply of gas through the pipelines from the East and Africa. Moreover, energy supplies have been boosted using the renewable sources. Additionally, the technological tests of fourth-generation nuclear reactors are underway. At the same time, the Italian government has joined in setting a "cap" on prices for Russian oil and gas.
Rome remains one of the largest suppliers of weapons to Ukraine. Italy has provided six packages of military aid since February 2022. Coordination on providing weapons occurs on the Contact Group on the Defense of Ukraine platform, named the "Ramstein meeting" (since April 2023 - Atlantic Charter 2.0). In December 2022, the Italian Senate approved a resolution to extend military aid to Ukraine until the end of 2023. According to Italy's Defense Minister Guido Crosetto, Italy will continue to supply weapons to Ukraine until peaceful negotiations with Russia begin.