Italy set to sign security deal with Ukraine, minister says

By Thomson Reuters Feb 22, 2024 | 3:33 AM

By Angelo Amante

ROME (Reuters) – Italy is set to sign a security agreement with Ukraine to help Kyiv strengthen its defence industry and fight hybrid threats such as cyber warfare, Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said on Thursday.

Italy, which holds the rotating presidency of the Group of Seven major democracies (G7), will sign the bilateral deal after Germany, France and Britain announced similar pacts to help Ukraine resist Russia’s invasion.

“Never before has it been so important to emphasise the will to ensure that the attacked David has the resources to defend himself against the Russian Goliath,” Tajani told parliament.

He said Italy, which has approved eight military aid packages for Ukraine since Russia’s invasion two years ago, expected to finalise the pact in the coming days, adding that helping Kyiv was crucial to ensure a “just and durable peace”.

Under the deal, Italy will reiterate commitments to humanitarian assistance and protection of critical infrastructure, and will pledge support for Kyiv’s efforts to adopt reforms required to join the European Union.

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni will chair a video conference meeting with fellow G7 leaders to discuss support for Ukraine on Feb. 24, the second anniversary of the full-scale invasion.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy will join the meeting, which Italian diplomatic sources say will result in a joint statement reiterating the group’s support for Kyiv.

The recent deals signed with France and Germany last for 10 years and involve commitments to deliver more arms and to train soldiers. Paris also committed to send up to 3 billion euros ($3.26 billion) in military aid to Ukraine in 2024.

Minister Tajani gave no financial details of Italy’s agreement but said: “At a time when Ukraine is under constant attack by Russia, it sends a clear message that we defend international law.”

($1 = 0.9203 euros)

(Reporting Angelo Amante, editing by Giulia Segreti and Crispian Balmer)