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Italian deputy PM calls NATO boss ‘a dangerous man’

Matteo Salvini slams Stoltenberg’s call for lifting of restrictions on Ukraine using its Western weapons to attack sites in Russia

Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini has called NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg a “dangerous gentleman” for his proposal to allow Kiev to strike targets in Russia with Western weapons. Such a move could lead to World War III, Salvini has warned.

The NATO chief has been urging western donors of longer-range weapons to allow attacks against targets on Russian soil. The arms were reportedly provided on the condition that they would not be used outside territory claimed by Kiev. The stipulation is intended to prevent further escalation of the conflict. However, in an interview with The Economist last week, Stoltenberg claimed it is time for the US-led military bloc’s allies to reconsider all the restrictions.

He reiterated his stance on Monday during a press conference at the 2024 Spring Session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Commenting on Stoltenberg’s words, Salvini described them as “dangerous and reckless.”

“This gentleman is dangerous because the talking about a third world war, about Western weapons capable of striking and killing inside Russia, seems to me very, very dangerous and reckless,” he told reporters on Monday.

Senior Italian officials, including Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, have rejected Stoltenberg’s public calls for a policy change. The Italian PM has advised “greater caution.”

On Sunday, Salvini told an election rally that Stoltenberg “cannot speak on behalf of the Italian people.”

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FILE PHOTO: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Moscow reacts to NATO chief’s call for attacks deeper inside Russia

“NATO cannot force us to kill in Russia, nor can anyone force us to send Italian soldiers to fight or die in Ukraine,” Salvini said, arguing that Rome is sending Kiev weapons only to “defend itself,” not to “fight, strike and kill outside its territory.”

Western leaders, most notably French President Emmanuel Macron, have been making increasingly bold statements about attacks on Russian territory. However, according to Moscow, the claims of existing restrictions on the use of Western munitions are false and designed to maintain an illusion that the West is not part of the conflict.

The West is already “at war” with Russia and the weaponry it supplies to Ukraine is being actively used to strike deep inside the country, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has insisted.

May 28, 2024 at 01:57AM

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