Friday, April 19

Salvini’s emissary who contacted Russian diplomats also contacted the Chinese embassy



The case of the Russian shadows behind the Italian political crisis that ended with the fall of Mario Draghi’s government is aggravated with new details. Around Matteo Salvini, leader of the League, due to his contacts with the Russian embassy in Rome, a great political storm has been unleashed, which leaves the leader of the League increasingly isolated, while many questions arise about his future politician for his “dangerous relations” in foreign policy, according to various media today. Russiagate, the name already given to the Kremlin’s alleged interference in Italian politics, revealed yesterday by the newspaper ‘La Stampa’, today occupies the front pages of all Italian newspapers, which devote a great deal of space to the harsh controversy and tension policy that the case raises in the middle of the electoral campaign. New revelations are made today. The Domani newspaper reveals the origin of the ‘intelligence documents’ viewed by La Stampa, about the conversations between Salvini’s adviser, the lawyer Antonio Capuano, and Russian diplomats. “These are interceptions of Capuano’s telephone by the secret services (AISI), carried out after the second visit of Salvini’s international relations adviser to the Russian embassy.” Intelligence agents wanted to know if there were national security risks behind Capuano’s activities. These intercepted conversations were passed on to La Stampa by an internal secret service source, according to the Domani newspaper. Related News standard No Scandal in Italy due to suspicions that Putin could help overthrow the Government of Draghi Ángel Gómez Fuentes The intelligence services reveal that a high-ranking official from the Russian embassy contacted an adviser to Salvini, leader of the League, to ask if their ministers were going to withdraw from the Executive The risk of Russian interference in Italian politics has been expressed in a document sent by the president of COPASIR, Adolfo Urso, senator of Fratelli d’Italia, to the presidents of the Chamber and Senate, two weeks ago, before Draghi’s resignation. This is revealed by the newspaper Il Foglio, highlighting that the alarm over the alleged interference sounds even louder at this time, after the new details about the Russian shadows behind the government crisis and the fall of Draghi. In addition, Senator Urso’s document sent to the presidents of the Chambers refers to a resolution approved by the European Parliament on March 9, on foreign interference in the political life of EU countries. Il Foglio recalls that the report approved in Strasbourg on foreign interference in the political life of other countries also mentioned the relationship of some European parties with Russia, in particular United Russia, Vladimir Putin’s party. Included in this context are the famous “cooperation agreements” between the Moscow party and the Salvini League. Next Wednesday, the head of secret services, Elisabetta Belloni, will be heard at COPASIR. Today the Turin newspaper provides new information on the case. He affirms that in the contacts that Capuano had on the night of May 27 with the Russian embassy, ​​he was not only informed of the plan drawn up by the Russians for Salvini in Moscow (a lunch with the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, and a meeting with the former president of the Russian Federation and former prime minister, Dimitri Medvedev, a fierce critic of the West), both for May 31, but Salvini’s adviser asked for something else. According to La Stampa, Capuano attempted the maximum blow of effect of Salvini’s planned visit to Moscow: “In addition, Capuano also raised the desire for a meeting of Salvini with President Putin, always on May 31,” the documents indicate. viewed by La Stampa. The visit plan was frustrated, because it was projected behind the back of the Draghi government and because of the scandal raised in Italy by a trip considered surreal and inconceivable. Matteo Salvini is well known for his particular relations with Moscow and his admiration for Putin (of him he stated that “he is one of the best government men on Earth”; “if we had a Putin in Italy, we would surely be better off”), but also It has also tried to get closer to China. That is, two countries that do not belong to the traditional Italian system of European and Atlantic alliances. La Stampa highlights today that “in April 2022, Capuano -Salvini’s adviser on international relations- would have met with the head of the political section of the Chinese embassy in Italy, Zhang Yanyu, precisely to inform him about a mission planned by the leader of the League in Moscow from May 3 to 7, with the aim of meeting with the Russian institutions, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the President». In his mission to the Chinese embassy as an adviser to the leader of the League, Capuano “asked the Chinese diplomat for the possibility of organizing, before his return from Russia to Italy, a meeting in Beijing with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.” . Berlusconi speaks with the Russian ambassador In the midst of this political storm, the name of the leader of Forza Italia, Silvio Berlusconi, whose friendship with President Putin goes back a long way, also appears. Berlusconi aligned himself with Salvini in the fall of Draghi, which has led to the abandonment of important party figures, including the three Forza ministers. Italy in the Government. The newspaper La República reports today that Berlusconi spoke with the Russian ambassador in Rome, Serguei Razov, thus summarizing the content of their conversation to his relatives: «He has explained the truth about the war to me. Ukraine wanted to attack Russia.” La Repubblica highlights that “in the hours before the vote of confidence in the Senate, a vote that would send the Draghi government home, Silvio Berlusconi was on the phone with the Russian ambassador Razov in Italy. Il Cavaliere explained to his Forza Italia ministers, in those moments of tension in Italian political life, that Razov told him that ‘it was Ukraine that caused twenty thousand victims in the disputed areas, and that the invasion was necessary because the risk was for Ukraine to attack Russia. Highlight of the election campaign The issue of Italian foreign policy has thus become a very hot topic in the election campaign, with a controversy that creates a serious problem for the League, also splashing its coalition partners, Fratelli d’ Giorgia Meloni’s Italy and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia. All polls give the likely winner on September 25 to the right and Fratelli d’Italia as the first party. Hence, Giorgia Meloni tries to distance herself from Salvini’s ideas in foreign policy. Meloni, who has recently made a great effort to establish herself as an Atlanticist politician -despite being in opposition to the Draghi government, she has supported it in sending arms to Ukraine-, has wanted to highlight her Atlanticism in the midst of the political storm that has arisen by its coalition partner: “We reiterate that we will be unequivocal guarantors of the Italian position and of absolute support for the heroic battle of the Ukrainian people. An Italy led by the Fratelli d’Italia and the centre-right will be reliable in international organisations». These words by Meloni are a clear message addressed to the United States and NATO, and of course to the European Union, although Fratelli d’Italia’s relations with Brussels are tense. Meloni takes advantage of Salvini’s mistakes In short, Meloni takes advantage of the serious foreign policy mistakes made by his ally Salvini. To ratify her Atlanticism with deeds and not just with words, Giorgia Meloni supports a clarification of the Russia-gate in Parliament, as other prominent party leaders have done. For example, the secretary of the Democratic Party has requested a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee for the Security of the Republic (COPASIR), because “we want to know if it was Putin who brought down the Draghi government.” The response from the head of the Fratelli d’Italia parliamentary group in the Chamber, Francesco Lollobrigida, Meloni’s most trusted politician (he is married to the sister of the party leader) has stated that “the request made by the parties to verify ( the alleged Russian interference) is legitimate. The beginning of Russiagate It is worth remembering, as a synthesis of the earthquake that is shaking Italian politics, that the bomb that set off Russiagate was launched yesterday by La Stampa. The Turin newspaper revealed, after viewing “documents from the intelligence services”, that at the end of May, an important official of the Russian embassy in Rome, Oleg Kostyukov, the number two of the Russian diplomatic mission, asked an emissary of Salvini , his adviser for international relations, the lawyer Antonio Capuano, if the three ministers of the League in the Executive were “willing to resign from the Draghi Government”, to substantially drop it, thus leaving evidence of a factual interest of Moscow in the “destabilization” of Italy, underlines La Stampa, citing the documents of the intelligence services. The seriousness of the conversation, with the question about the availability of the three ministers of the league to resign, is evident if we take into account that the meeting between Capuano, Salvini’s adviser, and the number two of the Russian embassy Kostyukov takes place at the end of May, on the 27th, when the possibility of the fall of the Draghi Government is not in the debate of any political party; however, the Russians are already investigating and asking about the matter. These La Stampa revelations are signed by the journalist Iacopo Iacobini, an expert on Russia’s relations with Italy, with various exclusives on the Russian role in the transalpine country and author of a book entitled «Oligarchs. How Putin’s friends are buying Italy”. La Stampa confirms all the information about him The information on the alleged interference has not been denied, on the merits, by any of those directly involved. The person in charge of the intelligence services, Franco Gabrielli, twelve hours after the news had appeared in La Stampa, denied the “attribution” of the information to the Services. But the Turin newspaper reiterates that “the details about the meetings and conversations between Kostyukov and Capuano, Salvini’s advisor, are contained in informal summary documents of the work of the intelligence services communicated at the time to competent institutional levels.” La Stampa, in an editorial comment by its editor, Massimo Giannini, confirms “the existence of a particular relationship between the Kremlin and the League, which sheds new light on Draghi’s fall. They show for the first time a possible causal link between Putin’s diplomatic support for Salvini’s ‘peace trip’ to Moscow (later aborted due to the scandal that caused his plan) and the withdrawal of the liguista ministers from the Government. We are aware of the enormous political relevance of these events -adds the director of La Stampa-. For this, in the face of outraged reactions and obvious denials and denials, we confirm everything we have published. Addressing Salvini, who described the revelations of La Stampa as ‘fake news’, the director of the Turin newspaper affirms that “on Russia-gate, the League has a lot to clarify and we have nothing to explain: we produce journalism, not fake news».


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