Italy’s Draghi, Russia’s Putin discuss migrant crisis, Ukraine-statement

Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi speaks during a news conference at the end of the G20 summit in Rome, Italy, October 31, 2021. REUTERS/Yara Nardi/File Photo

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ROME, Nov 22 (Reuters) – Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by phone on Monday and discussed the migrant crisis at the Polish-Belarus border, energy prices and Ukraine, Draghi’s office said.

The talks took place amid intensified concerns about tensions over Ukraine that Russia on Monday compared to the build-up to a 2008 war in which Russian forces crushed those of neighbouring Georgia. read more

Putin told Draghi that Ukraine was not fulfilling its obligations under the Minsk and Normandy settlement agreements, the Kremlin said in a statement.

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“Of particular concern are provocative steps by the Ukrainian side to deliberately exacerbate the situation in Donbass, including the use of weapons prohibited by the Minsk package of measures,” Putin told Draghi, referring to a swathe of eastern Ukraine seized by Russia-backed separatists.

The United States and fellow NATO member Turkey have supplied Ukraine respectively with Javelin anti-tank missiles and attack drones, while Britain is supporting the Ukrainian navy.

Ukraine says it is upgrading its combat capabilities to defend itself against possible Russian aggression. The Kremlin accuses Ukraine of provocation, saying it was being supplied with a significant amount of arms, including high-tech weapons.

Putin also told Draghi that Russia stood ready to ensure a flawless supply of natural gas to Europe, including via the Nord Stream 2 project.

Last week, Germany temporarily halted the certification process for the new pipeline that will carry Russian gas into Europe, throwing up a new roadblock to the contentious project and driving up regional gas prices. read more

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Reporting by Angelo Amante in Rome and Andrey Ostroukh in Moscow; Editing by Crispian Balmer and Bernadette Baum/Mark Heinrich

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Read More: Italy’s Draghi, Russia’s Putin discuss migrant crisis, Ukraine-statement

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