Berlusconi defends Putin on Ukraine invasion: ‘He was pressured’

For the former head of government and Italian communications magnate Silvio Berlusconi, Russian President Vladimir Putin was “pressured” to invade Ukraine to “replace the government of (Volodymyr) Zelensky with a government of decent people”, he said in a program on public television.

“Putin found himself in a really difficult and dramatic situation,” said the leader of Forza Italia (right) on Thursday night, which is running in legislative elections on Sunday with a coalition with the far right.

Berlusconi, who visited Crimea after the peninsula was annexed by Russia in 2014, is considered a “friend” of Putin, whom he has invited several times to his private mansion on the island of Sardinia.

“Putin was pressured by the Russian population, his party and his ministers to invent this special operation,” he said.

“A mission from the two pro-Russian republics of Donbass went to Moscow, spoke to everybody, radio, press, television, people from (Putin’s) party, to ministers, and said: ‘Zelensky has intensified the attacks against our forces in our borders. It has already cost 16,000 dead. Please defend us”.

“Russian troops were supposed to enter Ukraine, arrive in Kiev in a week, replace the Zelensky government with a government of decent people and return in a week,” explained the tycoon on the popular political program ‘Door to Door’.

“But they encountered unexpected resistance that was fed with weapons of all kinds from the West,” the tycoon emphasized. “The war has lasted more than 200 days, the situation has become very difficult, I feel bad when I hear about the dead because I have always considered war to be the madness of madness”, he concluded.

Berlusconi’s statements generated all kinds of reactions, which is why this Friday he reiterated that he considers any war “unjustifiable” and reaffirmed his support for NATO, the European Union and the United States.

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