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US President Biden meets with Italy PM Draghi


US President Biden meets with Italy PM Draghi

US President Joe Biden meets with Italy PM Mario Draghi today
US President Joe Biden meets with Italy PM Mario Draghi to discuss Ukraine – Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque/Pool

US President Joe Biden meets with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi today.

The main topic of discussion will be the Ukraine conflict. While both nations support Ukraine in its war with Russia, Italy has been hesitant to implement sanctions due to its dependence on Russian energy exports—current estimates indicate that Italy would need until the second half of 2023 to become independent of Russian gas. Nevertheless, the EU is preparing to implement a phased oil embargo on Russia with gas likely to follow in the medium to long-term.

Concurrently, Italy has also played a leading role in the effort to confiscate overseas assets connected to the Russian government, including the recent seizure of a billion-dollar superyacht.  Meanwhile, the US is developing plans to sell such assets and send the proceeds as aid to Ukraine. Expect future cooperation between Italy, the US and other Western nations to continue seizing Russian assets—despite the difficulties of doing so. Such actions are unlikely to impact the ability of Russia to continue its war in Ukraine in the short to medium-term. Instead, expect increasing pressure from Russian oligarchs on Putin to cease hostilities—even if it does not force a change in Putin’s Ukraine ambitions.

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