The fear is that of blackmail. In the delicate issue of the anti Covid mission which in 2020 motivated the arrival of a Russian delegation in Italy, many things continue to not return. Copasir has launched an investigation by listening, among others, to Undersecretary Franco Gabrielli and the heads of the secret services. The threats and warnings that the Russian authorities continue to address to Italy as a country are believed to be the confirmation that in reality that mission was used to capture confidential information. Too little help arrived from Moscow: the e-mails sent in those days reveal that the Russians delivered “521,800 masks, 30 lung ventilators, 1,000 protective suits, 2 machines for swab analysis, 10,000 quick swabs and 100,000 normal swabs”. The mission agreed by Vladimir Putin and by the then Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte provided useful material to face even the needs of a day of fighting the virus. With a cost for Italy of over 3 million euros to guarantee food, accommodation, fuel refunds and other items. The most feared hypothesis that emerged from the investigations is that the Russian expedition to Rome served to gather information. Sensitive data and other news that now, with Italy lined up alongside Ukraine, it is feared that they could be used in retaliation. The reference of the latest Russian threat to the “morality of some representatives of public authoritiesAs to make it clear that confidential information can also concern the private sphere.
The new threat from Moscow
In the past two months, threats of retaliation from Russia have come twice. On March 21, Alexei Vladimorovic Paramonov, former Russian consul in Milan, director of the European department of the Foreign Ministry, spoke of “irreversible consequences” if our country joined the new sanctions plan against Moscow, accusing Italy of “Ingratitude” after aid for Covid. A few hours ago, the Moscow Foreign Ministry, Sergej Lavrov, returned to the question. The released note explains that “the attempt by the Italian media to portray the Russian anti-Covid mission in Italy in 2020 as an espionage operation damages relations between Moscow and Rome”. And he continues: «Our Italian counterparts have short memories. Such a servile and short-sighted line of behavior not only damages our bilateral relations, but also demonstrates the morality of some representatives of public authorities and the Italian media ”. The document is not signed by the minister. A detail that according to analysts would attribute the note directly to President Putin.
“They wanted to enter Italian public offices”
The papers concerning the Moscow mission in Italy show that the Russians’ intention was to “sanitize the entire Italian territory by also entering public offices and all the locations at risk”. An intent declared by General Sergey Kikot, the deputy commander of the chemical, radiological, biological defense department of the Russian army, in an interview that took place immediately after his arrival in Italy with General Luciano Portolano, at the time commander of the Coi, the Joint operational command, and the heads of the Scientific Technical Committee, Agostino Miozzo and Fabio Ciciliano. The Russian military and doctors who arrived in Italy to help during the Coronavirus emergency “claimed to have a precise mandate, or to clean up public facilities”, Miozzo himself confirmed on 23 March. “This is what Kikot said and I can imagine what he meant, but we kept the point.” And again: “They offered us collaboration for the sanitation of the environments but we at the CTS never had any list with the names of the doctors and nurses participating in the Russian mission, nor were we able to know or evaluate the professional and scientific profiles of these experts”.