The Italian parliament's lower house voted in favor of prolonging defense assistance for Ukraine as the besieged country braces for another year of war with Russia, Italian media reported on Jan. 10.
Last December, the Italian government proposed to extend the aid for 2024. Assistance from European countries is ever more crucial now as additional funding from the U.S., the leading military donor, remains stalled by political infighting.
Italian lawmakers backed the motion with 195 voting in favor, 50 against, and 55 abstaining, the Domani newspaper wrote.
"Italian military aid for Ukraine has contributed to saving tens of thousands of lives. Italy must be proud of this; I am proud of it," commented the country's defense minister, Guido Crosetto.
"The road ahead on Kyiv's side is still long, but it would be a serious strategic and political mistake to withdraw now," he said at the parliament, according to the ANSA news agency.
Rome's support must continue "until Russian attacks stop," Crosetto noted.
After approval by the lower house, the motion must be supported by the Senate.
The minister also revealed that the Italian government greenlit its eighth military aid package for Kyiv, containing equipment and weapons "aimed exclusively at strengthening Ukraine's defense capabilities."
Rome also expressed interest in joining the Lithuanian-led demining coalition, as large swathes of Ukraine's territory remain mined due to Russian aggression.
Despite advocating for continued military assistance, Crosetto acknowledged that Ukraine's recent counteroffensive did not produce the desired results.
"From this perspective ... it would seem that the time has come for incisive diplomacy, alongside military support, because there are a number of important signals coming from both sides," the minister said.
Crosetto claimed he sees more signs that both Kyiv and Moscow are becoming more open toward talks.
During an interview with the Quotidiano Nazionale newspaper last November, Crosetto vowed that the support from Kyiv's allies remains stable.
The statement came amid growing worries of war fatigue among Kyiv's Western partners, who play a crucial role in providing the besieged country with military, financial, and diplomatic support.