Disgraced Italian ex-PM Silvio Berlusconi - and friend of Vladimir Putin - asks US ambassador to Rome not to isolate Russia
Italy’s disgraced ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi has put on his "elder statesman" hat to advise the US ambassador in Rome on how American should handle the crisis in the Ukraine, is has emerged.
Berlusconi, who is barred from parliament following a tax fraud conviction, is widely seen as Russian president Vladimir Putin’s closest friend among senior western politicians.
On Wednesday night he is reported to have told ambassador John Phillips at the American Embassy that it “would be an error to isolate Russia” and called for the US to “involve the Kremlin”.
According to the Rome daily, Il Messaggero, Berlusconi also recounted recent conversations he’d had with Mr Putin in which the Russian leader had lamented the “lack of respect” that the US and the EU had shown for a February agreement that should have taken Ukraine to new elections.
As Prime Minister, Mr Berlusconi’s relations with Mr Putin were so close as to alarm the US. In 2010 it emerged from Wikileaks documents that a former US Ambassador to Rome, Ronald Spogli, feared that the Mr Putin bought the political compliance of Berlusconi.
US embassy reports feared “that Berlusconi and his cronies are profiting personally and handsomely from many of the energy deals between Italy and Russia”. Mr Berlusconi’s shadowy, Russian speaking go-between Valentino Valentini was also present at the US embassy on Wednesday evening.
- 1 Universities aren't working us hard enough, say undergraduates
- 2 Lego letter from the 1970s still offers a powerful message to parents 40 years later
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Heroin to be prescribed to Canadian addicts by doctors
Tower Bridge glass walkway 'smashed' by night-time visitor dropping bottle of beer
Charing Cross fire: Station closed and 100 evacuated over blaze on train
Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby – through the stories of his accusers
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting and rewarding role ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be joining a long-established, renown...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The key requirements of the rol...
£30000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This south Warwickshire based s...