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Italy: How Georgia Meloni tries to tone down and give credibility to the image of a right-wing radical – Newsroom

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Under Meloni’s leadership, the far-right party Fratelli d’Italia (FDI, Brothers of Italy) (23% vs. 25% of the vote in recent polls) has become the strongest link in the centre-right country, a place where it has taken over from the League, led by Matteo Salvini. and therefore requires the leadership of a coalition government of three, if there is an agreement with other right-wing parties.

Silvio Berlusconi, leader of Forza Italia (right-wing liberals, 7% to 10% of the vote) and one of the partners in a possible coalition, says he fears Meloni and his extreme positions will alienate voters from his party.

This argument was also used by Meloni’s most dangerous rival, Enrico Letta, leader of the Italian Democratic Party (DP, centre-left, with 22% to 23% voting intentions), who warned that the options in the September 25 elections would be almost equal. certainly between two blocs: one progressive and centrist – where it belongs – and the other right-wing populist.

“Either the European Community wins, [programa] Next generation EU, from Erasmus and hope, or Europe wins [do Presidente húngaro, Viktor] Hour, do [partido espanhol] Vox yes [líder da extrema-direita francesa] Marine Le Pen.

To soften this image of himself and the party, Giorgia Meloni, 45, in the midst of preparations for the next election campaign, according to the Italian press, instructed the FdI’s regional offices to warn members to avoid harsher statements. , mention fascist ideology, and not publicly perform the “Roman salute,” which consists of extending the right hand in a gesture similar to the Nazi salute.

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The journalist, MP and former MEP, founder and president of the Brothers of Italy organization tried to create a more respectable image for himself in the European Community.

In Brussels, when he was chairman of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), Meloni became the face of the European far right abroad, gaining legitimacy by engaging with EU institutions rather than rejecting EU integration as a whole.

The FDI leader continues to defend radical positions on many issues, such as declaring his opposition – as the Politico newspaper recalled in this week’s analysis – to what it called the “LGBT lobby” and immigration, at an event in support of Spain’s campaign for the far-right party Vox.

But speaking earlier this year at the Conservative Political Action Conference, for example, he was one of the strongest voices calling for action against Russia.

Irmãos da Italia is a member (with eight MEPs) of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) parliamentary group in the European Parliament, which she chaired and now co-chairs with the Poles of Law and Justice (PiS) and which brings together 19 members from 15 countries. , including the Spaniards from Vox.

Earlier this year, ECR Meloni backed MEP centrist Roberta Metsola as leader of the European Parliament, allowing the group to nominate a vice president.

In December, the annual Atreju festival, an event for right-wing Italian youth founded by Meloni in 1998, invited ministers and European Commissioner Margaritis Schinas as speakers.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi resigned last Thursday after losing support from the M5S, Força Italia and the League, leading to early elections.

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Draghi has led the National Unity Coalition for the past 17 months since February 2021, supported by virtually every party except FDI, which is now leading the vote.

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Vladimir Putin has delayed the invasion of Ukraine at least three times.

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Putin has repeatedly consulted with Russian Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu about the invasion, Europa Press told Ukraine’s chief intelligence director Vadim Skibitsky.

According to Skibitsky, it was the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), which is responsible for counterintelligence and espionage work, that put pressure on Gerasimov and other military agencies to agree to launch an offensive. .

However, according to the Ukrainian intelligence services, the FSB considered that by the end of February sufficient preparations had already been made to guarantee the success of the Russian Armed Forces in a lightning invasion.

However, according to Kyiv, the Russian General Staff provided the Russian troops with supplies and ammunition for only three days, hoping that the offensive would be swift and immediately successful.

The head of Ukrainian intelligence also emphasized the cooperation of local residents, who always provided the Ukrainian authorities with up-to-date information about the Russian army, such as the number of soldiers or the exact location of troops.

The military offensive launched on February 24 by Russia in Ukraine caused at least 6.5 million internally displaced persons and more than 7.8 million refugees to European countries, which is why the UN classifies this migration crisis as the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945). gg.). ).

At the moment, 17.7 million Ukrainians are in need of humanitarian assistance, and 9.3 million are in need of food aid and housing.

The UN has presented as confirmed 6,755 civilian deaths and 10,607 wounded since the beginning of the war, stressing that these figures are much lower than the real ones.

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Life sentence for former Swedish official for spying for Russia

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A Stockholm court on Monday sentenced a former Swedish intelligence officer to life in prison for spying for Russia, and his brother to at least 12 years in prison. In what is considered one of the most serious cases in Swedish counterintelligence history, much of the trial took place behind closed doors in the name of national security.

According to the prosecution, it was Russian military intelligence, the GRU, who took advantage of the information provided by the two brothers between 2011 and their arrest at the end of 2021.

Peyman Kia, 42, has held many senior positions in the Swedish security apparatus, including the army and his country’s intelligence services (Säpo). His younger brother, Payam, 35, is accused of “participating in the planning” of the plot and of “managing contacts with Russia and the GRU, including passing on information and receiving financial rewards.”

Both men deny the charges, and their lawyers have demanded an acquittal on charges of “aggravated espionage,” according to the Swedish news agency TT.

The trial coincides with another case of alleged Russian espionage, with the arrest of the Russian-born couple in late November in a suburb of Stockholm by a police team arriving at dawn in a Blackhawk helicopter.

Research website Bellingcat identified them as Sergei Skvortsov and Elena Kulkova. The couple allegedly acted as sleeper agents for Moscow, having moved to Sweden in the late 1990s.

According to Swedish press reports, the couple ran companies specializing in the import and export of electronic components and industrial technology.

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The man was again detained at the end of November for “illegal intelligence activities.” His partner, suspected of being an accomplice, has been released but remains under investigation.

According to Swedish authorities, the arrests are not related to the trial of the Kia brothers.

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Ukraine admitted that Russia may announce a general mobilization

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“They can strengthen their positions. We understand that this can happen. At the same time, we do not rule out that they will announce a general mobilization,” Danilov said in an interview with the Ukrainska Pravda online publication.

Danilov believed that this mobilization would also be convened “to exterminate as many as possible” of Russian citizens, so that “they would no longer have any problems on their territory.”

In this sense, Danilov also reminded that Russia has not given up on securing control over Kyiv or the idea of ​​the complete “destruction” of Ukraine. “We have to be ready for anything,” he said.

“I want everyone to understand that [os russos] they have not given up on the idea of ​​destroying our nation. If they don’t have Kyiv in their hands, they won’t have anything in their hands, we must understand this,” continued Danilov, who also did not rule out that a new Russian offensive would come from “Belarus and other territories.” .

As such, Danilov praised the decision of many of its residents who chose to stay in the Ukrainian capital when the war broke out in order to defend the city.

“They expected that there would be panic, that people would run, that there would be nothing to protect Kyiv,” he added, referring to President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The military offensive launched on February 24 by Russia in Ukraine caused at least 6.5 million internally displaced persons and more than 7.8 million refugees to European countries, which is why the UN classifies this migration crisis as the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945). gg.). ).

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At the moment, 17.7 million Ukrainians are in need of humanitarian assistance, and 9.3 million are in need of food aid and housing.

The Russian invasion, justified by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the need to “denazify” and demilitarize Ukraine for Russia’s security, was condemned by the international community at large, which responded by sending weapons to Ukraine and imposing political and economic sanctions on Russia.

The UN has presented as confirmed 6,755 civilian deaths and 10,607 wounded since the beginning of the war, stressing that these figures are much lower than the real ones.

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