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POLITICS

‘Once again, I got away with it’: Italy’s Berlusconi leaves hospital after Covid treatment

Former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi left hospital on Monday 11 days after being admitted with coronavirus, an experience he described as perhaps "the most difficult" in his life.

'Once again, I got away with it': Italy's Berlusconi leaves hospital after Covid treatment
The 83-year-old media tycoon, who tested positive for Covid-19 after returning from a holiday at his luxury villa in Sardinia, was admitted to the San Raffaele hospital in Milan on September 3rd with a lung infection.
 
 
“The first three days were extremely difficult,” he told journalists as he left the hospital.
 
Two of his children – daughter Barbara, 36, and son Luigi, 31 – also contracted the virus, as did his companion Marta Fascina.
 
“It was tough. Thank heavens, thanks to the doctors, I got over what was perhaps the most difficult ordeal of my life.”
 
“Once again, I seem to have got away with it!” he said, after walking slowly but without assistance to address the cameras.
 
 
Property and media magnate Berlusconi was Italian prime minister for his centre-right Forza Italia party on three occasions between
1994 and 2011.
 
Despite his regular brushes with the law and health problems – including open heart surgery in 2016 — the man known as “the immortal” for his
longevity in politics led the Italian right for more than two decades.
 
 
The scandal-hit billionaire had insisted this month that he would continue his political activities despite the positive virus test.
 
Regional elections are to be held in Italy this weekend, as well as a referendum on reducing the number of deputies in parliament.
 

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POLITICS

Italy’s government to continue sending weapons to Ukraine in 2023

Italy's new government issued a decree on Thursday to continue sending weapons to Ukraine through 2023, continuing the previous administration's policy of support to Kyiv.

Italy's government to continue sending weapons to Ukraine in 2023

The decree extends to December 31, 2023 an existing authorisation for “the transfer of military means, materials and equipment to the government authorities of Ukraine,” according to a government statement.

Since taking office in October, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has repeatedly voiced her support for Kyiv while underlying the importance of the Atlantic alliance.

In her first speech to parliament, the leader of the Brothers of Italy party pledged to “continue to be a reliable partner of NATO in supporting Ukraine.”

Her predecessor Mario Draghi was a staunch supporter of Kyiv, but the issue of sending arms to Ukraine split the biggest party in parliament during his coalition government, the Five Star Movement.

That friction led to the early elections that brought Meloni to power.

Parliament now has 60 days to vote the decree into law.

READ ALSO: Outcry in Italy after Berlusconi defends Putin’s invasion of Ukraine

Despite Meloni’s efforts to reassure her Western allies of Italy’s support for the EU’s and NATO’s Ukraine strategy, including sanctions on Russia, the close ties to Russia of her two coalition partners have come under scrutiny.

Both Matteo Salvini of the League party and former premier Silvio Berlusconi, who leads Forza Italia, have long enjoyed warm relations with Russia.

In October, an audio tape of Berlusconi was leaked to the media in which the former premier described how he had received a birthday present of vodka from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In the tape, he also expressed concerns about sending weapons and cash to Kyiv and appeared to blame the war on Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky.

Berlusconi later issued a statement saying his personal position on Ukraine “does not deviate” from that of Italy and the EU.

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Salvini, too, has come under fire for his relations with Moscow, including a report that he dined with Russia’s ambassador to Rome just days after that country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Salvini, who has criticised EU sanctions as ineffective, has long admired Putin, even wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the Russian leader’s face.

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