Italy will not recognize the outcome of referendums in breakaway areas of eastern Ukraine, the outgoing prime minister said in a phone call with Ukraine’s president on Thursday.
The Italian government said in a statement that the call focused on the situation on the ground and the “illegal referendums” held by the Russian Federation in the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk and Russian-controlled parts of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson on Sept. 23-27.
Outgoing Premier Mario Draghi assured Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that Italy will not recognize the outcome of the referendums and confirmed Rome’s continued support for the Ukrainian authorities and people in all areas, the statement said.
The referendums have been widely condemned by the international community, with European nations and the US calling them “shams,” and saying they will not be recognized.
In 2014 a similar referendum, held after Russia’s takeover of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, was met with condemnation, including from Türkiye.
Draghi is set to serve as Italy’s premier until far-right leader Giorgia Meloni, whose party emerged as the winner in the Sunday’s national elections, is tapped to form a new government around the end of October.
Though Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party represents a sharp break from the current government in many respects, she has stressed her support for Ukraine, tweeting in English on Tuesday: “Dear Zelenskyy, you know that you can count on our loyal support for the cause of freedom of Ukrainian people. Stay strong and keep your faith steadfast!”