Putin: 'Italy is always close'. The Salvini case breaks out, 'The judges will clarify Navalny'

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Putin: 'Italy is always close'. The Salvini case breaks out, 'The judges will clarify Navalny'
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While the political controversy rages over the League's declarations on the death of dissident Alexei Navalny, Russian President Vladimir Putin suddenly enters Italian affairs, recalling his special relationship with the Bel Paese. “Italy has always been close to us, I remember how I was welcomed by you, I always felt at home”, he says responding to an Italian student during a conference at a university in Moscow. Words that in Rome, just as preparations for the G7 are getting underway, are dismissed as propaganda. But Putin's honeyed phrases fuel the political storm that was unleashed after Salvini's considerations on Navalny's death. The secretary of the League and deputy prime minister was icy about the circumstances of the death of the Russian activist: “we need to clarify things, but the doctors and the judges do it, we don't do it”.

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A position that not only arouses attacks from the opposition, but also invites distinctions from government allies and an equally cold reply from the EU Commission: “there is no need for criminal investigations to define what exactly caused his death”, replies a of the European executive. That the positions in the majority are divided is demonstrated by the very harsh judgment of the Foreign Minister, also deputy prime minister, Antonio Tajani who spoke of a “gulag” for Navalny, adding: “if his death was not caused directly, it was indirectly”. In short, the dissident, if not killed by a killer, “was made to die”. And the Farnesina, precisely for the Navalny case, summons the Russian ambassador to Italy Alexei Paramonov, aligning itself with several other European chancelleries. While awaiting diplomatic developments on the case, Salvini's words keep political tension high. After the protests against the group leader Massimiliano Romeo during the torchlight procession in Rome, the secretary Matteo Salvini supports the party's position, recalling a refrain that has been repeated in the Via Bellerio area for days: “I can hardly know what is happening in Italy, how can I judge what happened on the other side of the world.” Diplomatic delegations from all 27 EU countries took to the streets at the torchlight vigil in Rome for Navalny. And the European Commission is keen to point out that all the States “were very clear” in a “27-member declaration, also agreed by Italy”. For the EU, in short, “it is very clear who is responsible for this death, perhaps the recommendation for government members is to read what their governments are adopting”. The allies of the centre-right, even before the Commission expressed its opinion, had begun to take a step aside. For FdI there is no doubt that Putin is responsible for Navalny's death. And while Fi, with Tajani, cannot be more explicit, Lupi of Noi Moderati raises doubts “on the independence of the Russian judiciary”. But it is from the opposition that the harshest attacks on Salvini come. Calenda points the finger at the “League's relations with Russia” and launches the ultimatum: “If Salvini does not publicly deny the renewal of the agreement with Putin's United Russia party, Action will present a motion of no confidence against the minister”. Party group leader Matteo Richetti announces a question to the government on the relations between the League and Putin's party. Meanwhile, the deputy secretary of the League Andre Crippa replies: “There never was an agreement with Russia, only sporadic meetings six years ago”. Action, however, is not the only one to insist on the point. Riccardo Magi of +Europa defines Salvini as “a shameless Putin troll”. From the Democratic Party, Lia Quartapelle accuses the leader of the League of “acting as a lawyer” for the Russian president. Italia Viva is also on the attack, with group leader Enrico Borghi who sees in Salvini's words “yellow-green nostalgia” for Putin's model. While his party colleague Roberto Giachetti launches the petition to nominate Yulia Navalnaya as the leader of the Renew-Europe group in Rome and Milan in the next European elections.

Tajani: 'Establish the facts, but Navalny was made to die'

“As far as I'm concerned, the facts will have to be ascertained but the doubt is that Navalny was made to die. We don't know if he was killed by a killer but the death of a person can be caused even with a detention incompatible with life and this is happened. He was in a gulag like those used by the Soviet Union in a region of Russia where there is an unlivable climate. I don't know what happened, it's true that we need to ascertain the truth, but Navalny's death if not It was caused directly, it was caused indirectly .” Deputy Prime Minister Antonio Tajani stated this when speaking about Navalny's death.

The Foreign Minister explains that he reiterated to Navalny's widow “the solidarity of the Italian government, our commitment to defend freedom, democracy, freedom of opinion. We have asked for the release of all political prisoners in Russia and we will continue to defend the right to every citizen to be able to express their ideas. I held a minute of silence at the opening of the G7 work in Munich last Saturday, so our position is clear. Yesterday a large delegation from Forza Italia with leaders and young people participated convinced at the demonstration in the Capitol. For us there are only words of condemnation”, added Tajani.

The EU: 'Salvini? There is no need for criminal investigations into Navalny's death

“The EU position on foreign policy dossiers, including that relating to the death or assassination of Navalny, was the subject of a 27-person declaration. And it means that it was also agreed by Italy.” Peter Stano, of the EU Commission spokesperson service, said this, answering a question about Matteo Salvini's words. “There is no need for criminal investigations to define what exactly caused his death”, he explained, recalling how the opponent was subject “to continuous intimidation”.

“Let's not forget that he was poisoned with Novichok a few years ago, which still today has not been properly investigated by Russia. There was an attempt on his life with a nerve agent. And when we look at these precedents it is very clear who is responsible for this death. And the 27 EU states have been very clear about this. Perhaps the recommendation for government members is to read what their governments are adopting”, added Stano during the daily briefing with journalists.

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