Medvedev’s statements were followed by warnings on the front pages of Italian newspapers

Dmitry Medvedev called on Europeans on Thursday “not only to be outraged by the actions of their governments, but also to hold them accountable and punish their obvious stupidity.”

“Take action, European neighbors!” Don’t be silent! Demand responsibility!” he stated on the Telegram platform.

After Medvedev’s comments, the front pages of the Repubblica and Il Messaggero newspapers warned of Russian “meddling,” while the Corriere della Sera newspaper said Moscow had “stirred” the political waters ahead of the vote.

The outgoing government of Prime Minister Mario Draghi has condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and is providing military and humanitarian support to Kyiv.

However, the situation may change after the likely victory of the right-wing alliance in the September 25 general election.

While Giorgio Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party supports Ukraine, Matteo Salvini’s League and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia have long had close ties to Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin.

Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio accused Salvini and other leaders of failing to condemn what he said was clear Russian interference.

Enrico Letta, head of Italy’s centre-left Democratic Party (PD), said Moscow was trying to “change Italy’s foreign policy, which from the beginning has clearly sided with the European Union and NATO”.

E. Letta also called on the “League” led by M. Salvini to terminate the cooperation pact with V. Putin’s “United Russia” party, which it signed in 2017.

M. Salvini, who has admired V. Putin for a long time and once even wore a T-shirt with the image of the Russian leader, tried to justify on Friday that he “hasn’t been in Russia for many years.”

“Russia has not the slightest influence on the Italian elections,” he told reporters in Milan.

Medvedev, who symbolically replaced Putin as president from 2008 to 2012, is now the deputy head of the Security Council, but is believed to have little influence over Russian politics.

Suspicions of Moscow’s meddling in elections are not new. In July, Russia rejected “strange” allegations of meddling in the Italian election campaign, which Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called nothing more than a “worn myth.”

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