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Italy approves extension of military support to Ukraine throughout 2023

Max Civili
Press TV, Rome

The Italian government has been authorized to send - when it sees fit - military assets, materials and equipment to Ukraine until December 31 next year. The go-ahead has arrived from Italy's lower house, the chamber of deputies, which has passed a motion presented by the right-leaning parties backing the government coalition and supported by some opposition groups including center-left Democratic Party and centrist Italia Viva - Azione.

Italy has so far classified the arms it has been sending to Ukraine,
but some media have suggested the next package will likely include air
defense and missile defense.

Support for Ukraine has been a contentious issue within the ruling coalition with Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni positioning herself as a staunch supporter of Kiev.

However her partners Matteo Salvini and Silvio Berlusconi, respectively leaders of the League and Forza Italia parties, have been so far much more ambiguous due to their historical ties with Moscow and President Vladimir Putin. The two have repeatedly stressed the urgency of stepping up efforts to promote peace negotiations.

NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has recently said the western alliance intends to keep fighting for Ukraine until it wins back all the territory Russia has seized since 2014.

However there seems to be an open wedge between parliament and the Italian people. Latest polls show that more than half of Italians advocate peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine and only a third are okay with their country supplying weapons to Kiev.

The approval of the motion in the lower house on supplying weapons to Ukraine also included a provision which increases military spending to 2 percent of GDP by 2028 as required by NATO. The motion is currently under discussion at the upper-house. The Senate will have the final say on the matter.

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