NATO’s attempts to inflict defeat on Russia in the Ukraine conflict have completely missed their mark as Moscow continues to stand tall amid Kiev’s faltering counteroffensive and Western sanctions, former Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Saturday.
- Writing on Facebook, Conte, who leads the Five Star Movement party, noted that the year and a half of hostilities between Moscow and Kiev had shown that it was time to “put aside the optimistic assessments… fueled by a superficial as well as deafening war propaganda” in the West.
The strategy of the US-led military block, which has so far hinged on massive military aid to Kiev and the “logic of escalation,” has failed to bring about the much-hoped-for demise of the Russian military, Conte said. He recalled that Ukraine never managed to push Russian forces back from Artyomovsk (known as Bakhmut in Ukraine), a key Donbass stronghold that Russia captured in May after months of fierce fighting.
- “There has been no disintegration of [Russia’s] military and paramilitary departments, there has been no retreat due to the Ukrainian counteroffensive,” the ex-prime minister stressed, adding that Western hopes for domestic political turmoil in the country also failed to materialize.
Meanwhile, the harsh sanctions imposed by the West on Russia “have not bankrupted it or crippled its economy,” Conte continued, noting that the long-stated goal of isolating Moscow “has by no means been achieved.”
To underscore his point, the politician pointed to the recent BRICS summit – Russia is a member – which ended with an unprecedented expansion of the group.
- In addition to this, Conte claimed that the Ukraine conflict “has exposed the EU’s inability to develop an effective common strategy and to express autonomous political and economic leadership.” Instead, it has become yet another indicator of the bloc’s kowtowing to the US.
Conte’s comments come as the Ukrainian counteroffensive has failed to gain any significant ground despite more than two months of fighting. According to Moscow, Kiev has lost more than 43,000 service members and nearly 5,000 pieces of military equipment since the start of the push.
The former Italian prime minister, who held the office from 2018 to 2021, has in the past repeatedly called for peace talks between the belligerents in Ukraine while opposing further arms deliveries to Kiev, warning of a potential escalation.