ROME: New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni reaffirmed support for Ukraine in her first phone call on Thursday with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, her office said.
“Prime Minister Meloni reiterated that the Atlantic alliance is essential to defending the security and common values that characterise Western identity,” it said.
“Meloni reaffirmed full support for Ukraine against Russian aggression and the importance, in the context of a global approach, of strengthening NATO’s commitment to countering threats of various kind coming from all strategic directions, including the challenges of the South.”
In a Twitter message, Stoltenberg said: “Italy is a committed ally, making solid contributions to our deterrence and defence, and key for Allies’ support to #Ukraine.
“NATO will not be intimidated or deterred from supporting Ukraine’s self-defence – for as long as it takes.”
Meloni’s post-fascist Brothers of Italy party won September elections, and last weekend was sworn in as head of a government involving the far-right League and Silvio Berlusconi’s right-wing Forza Italia parties.
Both League leader Matteo Salvini and former premier Berlusconi have long had good ties with Moscow, although Meloni used her first address to parliament on Tuesday to emphasise Italy’s place in the EU and NATO.
Meloni also spoke to US President Joe Biden on Tuesday, highlighting the “deep friendship that binds” their two countries, according to her office.
She “stressed the importance of their transatlantic partnership, especially in the light of the historical challenges that Western democracies are facing, such as the war in Ukraine and the energy and food crises”.