The newly formed Italian government under Giorgia Meloni has been the subject of concerns, with some fearing the course that the country might take after right-wing parties took power. One of the issues pointed out was the concern about Meloni’s stance towards Ukraine, NATO, and the EU. Before the events of 24 February, the current Italian Prime Minister stressed her willingness to improve relations with Russia and allied herself with prominent Italian political figure Silvio Berlusconi, who recent claimed that Ukraine had provoked Russia’s invasion.
Concerns over future Italian support may be allayed, however, since taking office Italy’s new PM has reaffirmed Italy’s support for Ukraine.
Italian Air Force has been regularly conducting flights with supplies to Rzeszow-Jesionka Airport, a hub for military aid directed to Ukraine from Poland. However, no solid provisions for military aid were provided during the last few months. In late October this situation changed, with Meloni’s government making more solid declarations in its first week in power.
According to la Republica Italy will deliver the following pieces of equipment to Ukraine:
– 2 M270A1 MLRS
– 6 155mm PzH 2000 artillery systems
– ~30 Self-propelled 155mm M109L howitzers
– several dozens of M113 Armored Personel Carriers
In addition to the declared aid package, SIDAM 25 anti-aircraft systems might be included in future deliveries. Due to the increase in Russian drone and missile strikes, targeting power infrastructure and civilian objects, significant air defense systems are required. The Ukrainian military has often resorted to MANPADS “nets” in order to intercept low-flying cruise missiles.
The strongly pro-Ukrainian and pro-European course recently declared by current Italian PM and her government may not have been anticipated but is certainly welcomed by the EU and NATO. It may frustrate the Kremlin’s hopes for a divided West.
Cover picture by Italian Ministry of Defense under CC-BY 2.5 License.