The invitation extended to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to Paris, where he met French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, was deemed “inappropriate” by Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Thursday.
“I believe our strength is community and unity…. but there are times when favoring internal public opinion risks being detrimental to the cause, and this appears to me to be one of those cases,” she said in Brussels.
Following his visit to London and Paris, Zelenskiy arrived in Brussels on Thursday to push EU leaders for more weapons in the fight against Russia’s invasion and for a quick start to EU membership talks.
Italy’s Foreign Minister said on Wednesday Meloni would meet Zelenskiy on the sidelines of the EU leaders meeting, which will end on Friday.
Zelenskiy, who is seeking better aerial firepower to turn the war against Russia, won a British pledge to train Ukrainian pilots on advanced NATO fighter jets.
Meloni, in power since October, reiterated Italy’s pledge to support Kyiv and said providing help to the Ukrainians was the best way to peace.
“I believe that the best way to create conditions for peace and dialogue is to keep the two sides on an equal footing,” she said.
Last week France and Italy finalised technical talks for the joint delivery of a SAMP/T-MAMBA air defence system to Ukraine in spring of this year.