Did the Italian Prime Minister Discuss Russia’s “Surrender”?

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Original article (in B/H/S) was published on 21/6/2024; Author: Marija Manojlović

False claims circulating on social networks allege that Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni stated that Russia will be forced to surrender if it does not agree to the terms discussed at the peace summit on Ukraine.

On June 16, 2024, a short video (archived) featuring the speech of Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni was posted on Facebook. In the video, Meloni speaks in English, but an audio with a Ukrainian translation has been added over her voice. The description of the post states the following:

Russians prepare to surrender…

 “If Russia does not agree to the terms of the Peace Summit, we will force it to surrender”.

– Italian Prime Minister Meloni said at the “Peace Summit” on Ukraine in Switzerland.

Photo: Screnshot/Facebook

We found similar claims about the Italian Prime Minister’s statement on several other Facebook accounts (1, 2).

 The claim that Meloni spoke about forcing Russia to “surrender” was also published in articles on the web portals Nacional, AntenaM and Face. These web portals shared the author’s text of the former Ukrainian ambassador to Croatia, Oleksandr Levchenko, in which he referred to the peace summit on Ukraine, held in Switzerland from June 15 to 16. The web portal AntemaM first published this text on June 17. The text states, among other things, the following:

 At the same time, Italian Prime Minister Georgia Meloni pointed out that the participants of the summit should establish minimum conditions for the discussion on ending the Russian-Ukrainian war. “Italy would like to participate in this and help Ukraine. If Russia does not agree to the peace plan, we will force it to surrender”, emphasized D. Meloni.

What Are the Facts?

In the viral video, which is being shared as evidence that the Italian prime minister was talking about forcing Russia to surrender, Meloni speaks in English. Audio with translation is added over her voice so that only parts of what she is actually saying are heard.

On June 15 and 16, a summit on peace in Ukraine was held in Switzerland, where more than 90 countries were present, and around 80 countries supported the document on the peace agreement with Russia. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni also attended the summit, and gave a speech on June 16. The video of the speech, along with the transcript, was published on the website of the Italian government (archived).


The viral clip with translation is part of this speech, which can be seen by the clothes of the Italian Prime Minister, as well as other people in the clip. Based on her words, which are clearly heard in the video with translation, we determined that the segment shared on social networks begins at 0:33 of the recording (archived). In this part of the speech, Meloni says the following in English:

 [Defending Ukraine means] defending the system of rules that holds the international community together and protects every nation. If Ukraine could not count on our support and was forced to surrender, we would not be here today to discuss the minimum terms for negotiations. We would only be discussing the invasion of a sovereign state and we can all imagine the consequences.

So, it is clear that Meloni did not say that Russia would be forced to surrender if it did not agree to the terms of the peace summit. Also, she did not say that in the rest of her speech. She mentioned “surrender” once more in her speech but in the context of the surrender of Ukraine. In this section, Meloni says, “Peace does not mean surrender – which President Putin seems to be suggesting with his latest statements. It’s not like that. Equating peace with submission would set a dangerous precedent for everyone”.

On June 14, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke about the conditions for ending the war in Ukraine, which include the withdrawal of this country from joining the NATO alliance and the withdrawal of troops from the regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.

By searching through Russian and Ukrainian language reports on this topic, and one other language, we found articles that also falsely claimed that Meloni said Russia would be forced to surrender if it did not agree to terms (1, 2, 3, 4). By comparing the quotes, we concluded that the translation in the analyzed video is in Ukrainian.

 By searching these allegations in English, we found several articles from the Ukrainian media (1, 2, 3), as well as an article from the British Express, which also contained incorrect claims.

The platforms USA Today and Lead Stories also addressed the incorrect claims that Meloni said that Russia would be forced to surrender.

Therefore, the claim that the Italian Prime Minister said that Russia will be forced to surrender if it does not agree to the terms of the peace summit, published on social networks and in an article by the web portal AntenaM, is assessed as fake news. We evaluate other posts as a distribution of fake news.

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