Italy’s outgoing Prime Minister Mario Draghi will receive one of Ukraine’s most prestigious awards from President Volodymyr Zelensky, Draghi’s office said on Thursday.
Draghi told Zelensky he was “honoured and moved” to be given the Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise of the first degree, and “happy to receive it from your hands in Kyiv”, according to Rome’s readout of a phone call between the pair.
Draghi has been one of the strongest backers of EU sanctions against Russia over the war, and Rome has sent weapons to help Kyiv.
In its own statement, the Ukrainian presidency said Zelensky had praised Draghi’s role “among the names of political leaders who have supported Ukraine” since the start of Russia’s invasion.
Draghi will have to step down when a new government takes office following Sunday’s legislative elections in Italy, won by Giorgia Meloni’s far-right coalition.
After her victory, Meloni said Ukraine could count on Italy’s support.
Despite her Euroscepticism, Meloni has firmly backed Draghi’s position, but her government allies, far-right League leader Matteo Salvini and former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, have long had warm relations with Moscow.
The Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise, established in 1995 by President Leonid Kuchma, is awarded for services to the state and the people of Ukraine. The medal of the order has a blue ribbon with a yellow stripe on each side.