ROME: Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi complained in a newspaper interview on Sunday that the diplomatic efforts by the West to persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to halt the war in Ukraine had so far led nowhere.
“I am beginning to think that those people are right when they say ‘It is useless to talk to him, it’s just a waste of time’,” Draghi told the daily Il Corriere della Sera.
Draghi said he had always felt French President Emmanuel Macron, who currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency, “is right to try every possible avenue of dialogue.
“But I have the impression that the horror of the war with its carnage, with what they have done to children and women, is completely independent of the words and phone calls that are made,” the Italian leader said.
So far, Putin’s goal had not been the search for peace, “but the attempt to annihilate the Ukrainian resistance, occupy the country and entrust it to a friendly government,” Draghi continued.
Like many others at the beginning of the conflict, Draghi had thought a quick victory for the Russians was likely.
“This did not happen: the victory did not come and we do not know if it will ever come. The Ukrainian resistance is heroic,” Draghi said.
“What awaits us is a war of resistance, prolonged violence with destruction that will continue. There is no sign that the Ukrainian people can accept the Russian occupation.”
Draghi’s comments came after Italy said it would reopen its Ukrainian embassy in Kyiv from Monday.
The Italian leader said that while economic sanctions against Russia were “essential to weaken the aggressor,” they would not necessarily stop the war in the short term.
Nevertheless, the West could help Ukraine directly by supplying weapons.
“We need to help the Ukrainians directly, and that is what we are doing. Not doing so would be tantamount to telling them: surrender, accept slavery and submission – a message contrary to our European values of solidarity,” Draghi said.