The administration claims that the influx of more than 20,000 people into Italy this year was planned. It now requests aid from NATO.
Guido Crosetto, the defense minister of Italy, claimed on Monday that Russia’s use of mercenaries as proxies in its “hybrid warfare” against nations that support Ukraine is the cause of the growing number of migrants traveling across the Mediterranean.
In a statement, Crosetto said: “I think it is now safe to say that the exponential growth in the migratory phenomenon leaving African shores is also, to a not insignificant extent, part of a clear strategy of hybrid warfare that the Wagner division is implementing, using its considerable weight in some African countries”.
According to reports, Wagner conducts business in a number of African nations, including Libya, Mali, and the Central African Republic. The gang has played a significant role in Russian efforts to annex the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut.
“The southern European front is also becoming more dangerous every day, according to Crosetto. “Just as the EU, NATO, and the West have realized that cyber attacks were part of the global battle that the war in Ukraine opened up,” he added.
MORE PEOPLE ARE COMING FROM AFRICA
According to data from the Italian interior ministry, almost 20,000 people have arrived in Italy so far this year, compared to 6,100 during the same period in 2022.
Only this past weekend, 1,200 people arrived in Italy.
It is a challenge for the administration of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, which won office on a platform of vehement opposition to immigration.
She urged other EU leaders to take additional measures to curb illegal immigration earlier this month.
She warned of unprecedented strain from the number of people trying to reach Europe and said criminal organizations and people traffickers shouldn’t be able to control the flow of migrants.
Her defense minister is now asking with NATO to assist Italy in coping with the increase in migrant arrivals.
According to Crosetto, the Atlantic Alliance will be stronger if the issues brought on by collective decisions are also shared. Nevertheless, if the nations most vulnerable to reprisal of all types are left alone, the alliance may break.
WAGNER SAYS MIGRANT CRISIS NOT ITS MAKING
The most vulnerable nations, namely Italy, and their geostrategic decisions, he said, might be “struck by uncontrolled and continual immigration.”
Italy is a steadfast ally of Ukraine, providing it with aid and arms to aid in its defense against Russian invasion.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Wagner, reacted by saying, “We have no idea what’s happening with the migrant problem, we don’t worry ourselves with it,” in an expletive-filled voice message uploaded on his Telegram channel.
Yet, according to Italian news agency ANSA, Antonio Tajani, the foreign minister of Italy, many refugees arrived from regions “dominated by the Wagner gang.”