Italy steps up arms deliveries to Ukraine

Posted Feb 1 2023 at 02:24 PM

Giorgia Meloni promised as much when she came to power: Italy’s support for the Ukrainian resistance will be unfailing”. The president of the council intends to prove it with a visit to kyiv by the end of the month. “In the perspective of a massive offensive by the Russian army, greater military aid is essential, warns its Minister of Defense Guido Crosetto, without which Ukraine risks succumbing. Last December, Rome had already confirmed a sixth delivery of military equipment with the shipment of a variety of air defense systems including the Italian ASPIDE, as well as portable Stinger missiles.

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According to the “Financial Times”, the next Italian aid program will “probably include defense weapons against russian missile attacks “. This is the Franco-Italian Mamba SAMP-T system (Thales) equipped with Aster-30 medium-range missiles (MBDA). A weapon designed to deal with cruise or ballistic missile attacks capable of hitting a target up to an altitude of 20 km at a distance of over 100 km.

Paris and Rome only have 8 and 6 Mamba respectively and do not intend to sell them all. The two countries are thus discussing the distribution of an assembly of several elements to deliver a system to kyiv. France and Italy have also announced joint production of 700 missiles additional Aster medium-range anti-aircraft guns.

An increasingly divided public opinion

If the support of the Italian government for the Ukrainian cause does not weaken, the same is true of public opinion. According to the latest Euromedia poll, 52% of Italians are against sending arms and 68% refuse greater NATO involvement in the conflict. “We will give everything we can give without jeopardizing the Italian defense, promises Guido Crosetto” which earned him the qualifier of “rare fool” from Dimitri Medvedev.

“It is not only necessary to send weapons but also technicians to train the Ukrainian soldiers, specifies Leonardo Tricarico, former chief of staff of the Italian air force. In addition, we passively follow the American position which stipulates that the weapons delivered must only be used on Ukrainian soil. This is nonsense and a real ball and chain at the feet of the kyiv army which cannot hit the Russian supply and logistics chains. Italy has decided not to participate in the debate regarding the delivery of tanks to Ukraine. But for the leader of the M5S Giuseppe Conte, “we are already witnessing a dangerous escalation of this conflict which is leading us towards a world war. »

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Italy steps up arms deliveries to Ukraine