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June 16, 2024 11:19 pm

‘Putin sent me 20 bottles of Vodka’: Italy-ex PM’s remarks under scanner

Rome, October 20

Italy’s presumed next premier, Giorgia Meloni, issued a stark warning to Silvio Berlusconi on Wednesday that he risked losing influence in any new government over his friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, as she asserted a strong pro-NATO, pro-European position about Russia’s war in Ukraine.

“Italy will never be the weak link of the West with us in government,” Meloni said in a statement late Wednesday.

She was responding to private comments by Berlusconi to his Forza Italia lawmakers this week in which the three-time premier boasted of having re-established contact with Putin and exchanged gifts of vodka and wine over his recent 86th birthday, while justifying Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

“I have reconnected with President Putin – a little, a lot,” Berlusconi was heard saying in comments that were recorded and released by the LaPresse news agency.

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