Not with Macron on Ukraine, no to escalation says Tajani

Italy does not support French President Emmanuel Macron sending military instructors to Ukraine and is against all forms of escalation of the Russia-Ukraine war, Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said on Italian TV Friday.

“Putin is making election propaganda: we are for the respect of Ukraine’s independence but we will not send soldiers to Ukraine and we will not send weapons to Russian territory,” he said on La7.

“Macron’s is not Italy’s position, we must not follow anyone: escalation must be avoided.

“We are not at war with Russia.

“There are election campaigns and Putin is trying to divide Europe, which is united in substance”.

Macron has also repeatedly said NATO boots on the ground in Ukraine will eventually be needed.

On another point, an attack from coalition partner and rightwing League leader Matteo Salvini, who accused him of splitting the colaition over Ukraine, centre right post Berlusconi Forza Italia (DI) leader Tajani said: “I understand the campaign tones of Salvini who is trying to recover votes: I am foreign minister, I cannot use vulgar words against a president of another state.

“I am an Italian patriot, I was in the military, I was in a NATO operational department.

“I have never spoken of secession.

I don’t make polemics but I don’t accept lessons from anyone when talking about Italy and the Fatherland”.

Ex European Parliament president and two-time EU commissioner Tajani, 70, is a former air force pilot and journalist by trade.