Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi believes he is the one who can convince his old friend Vladimir Putin to come down to the negotiating table and end the war in Ukraine.
Berlusconi intends to do so before Christmas.
The 86-year-old media mogul is after a peace deal, brokered by himself, and his private jet is already on standby.
Vittorio Sgarbi, Berlusconi’s confidant and now undersecretary for culture in Giorgia Meloni’s new government, has said that Berlusconi thinks of himself as the only possible mediator.
He said: “Berlusconi loves generous acts”.
“This is the gesture he has in mind. He believes he can achieve it and if he does, without compromising NATO’s position, he will go down in the history books as a global hero.”
Berlusconi has played the role of mediator in talks between the West and Russia before – notably at the Rome summit in 2002, which led to the creation of a permanent NATO-Russia council.
This is now being assessed as “the best time”.
Russia has suffered another military humiliation by abandoning the key city of Kherson, and the Joe Biden administration is reportedly telling Volodymyr Zelensky to seriously consider peace.
Last month, Berlusconi’s Forza Italia was part of the right-wing coalition that formed Italy’s new government led by Giorgia Meloni.
She is ready to authorize the country’s sixth aid package and told a NATO summit last week that she fully defends the country’s right to “territorial integrity, sovereignty and freedom”.