“Putin’s military action” in Crimea “is not acceptable, and to be condemned, but we do not wish to contribute, with words or in any other manner, to the military operation spinning out of control; to causing an all out war”. Thus Minister for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini responded in an interview for La Repubblica online to a question regarding the tone used by the Italian government to condemn the Russian intervention.
“It’s easy to shout”, the minister added, “but if the goal is to find a solution to a crisis that could turn into outright war, we need to curb even our words. The best way to encourage the Moscow and Kiev governments’ responsibility is to refrain from contributing to escalation, even verbally. From the start, European level discussion has been one in which even the countries most traditionally distant from Moscow have avoided using words that could eventually have been necessary only subsequently, if things were truly to precipitate”.
Calling a hostile military action an “invasion” does not help de-escalate: this military aggression by troops that, for the most part, were already present in Crimea, must stop, and efforts to make it stop must be political ones”. “The political force of reaction must not be confused with a strong verbal reaction”, Mogherini concluded.
Together with the West
“Together with the West” – Minister Mogherini underscored in her interview with Repubblica – “we can put an end to the escalation”. Ukraine, Mogherini explained, a profoundly divided country; at times it has seemed the message was simple: all the “good guys” against all the “bad guys”. The reality is much more complex. I was in Ukraine 20 days ago as an MP; there is a great desire for Europe, for modernity, but there are also extremist, radical, neo-Fascist and neo-Nazi currents that are polluting. We have to prevent the country splintering, which would bring instability and military crisis right to the heart of Europe”. For that reason, the minister explained, “Today it is possible that the crisis could be resolved, but we are still hearing reports of incidents on the ground, and of very dangerous positions. If just one of these were to trigger something unexpected, the whole thing could spin out of control”.