The mayor of the Polish town of Przemyśl, near the main crossing point with Ukraine, has confronted Matteo Salvini, the leader of Italy’s right-wing League party, over his previous support for Vladimir Putin.
Przemyśl Mayor Wojciech Bakun, invited Salvini, to visit a war-refugee centre while wearing a T-shirt with Putin’s face on, reports the Guardian’s Lorenzo Tondo from the town.
During a news conference on Tuesday, Przemyśl Mayor Wojciech Bakun, standing beside Salvini, who had just arrived in Przemysl on a visit to show his support to the Ukrainian refugees, but is known for his previous pro-Kremlin views, pulled a T-shirt from his jacket showing Putin’s face and the words: “Army of Russia”. The garment was similar to one Salvini had worn in the past.
“Come with me to the border and condemn him,” Bakun added, inviting Salvini to wear the T-shirt and visit with him a refugee centre “to see what your friend Putin has done.”
As Salvini tried to interrupt Bakun explaining that he came here to “to help refugees, children, mums, dads, from Ukraine’’, the mayor said: “I won’t receive you”, before turning away.
A group of Italians present at the news conference called Salvini “a clown” and “a buffoon’’.
Salvini praised Putin in the past, describing the Russian president as “one of the best statesmen.”
His party has also been accused of receiving money from the Kremlin, but Salvini has always denied those allegations.
At the end of the news conference, Salvini said he was not “interested in rows with the Italian left or the Polish one.’’
When asked if he condemned Putin, he replied: “certainly, obviously. We condemn the war”.