Italy's Meloni speaks to Zelenskiy, offers full support for Ukraine

FILE PHOTO: Leader of Brothers of Italy Giorgia Meloni

ROME (Reuters) - Giorgia Meloni, set to become Italy's next prime minister, promised "her full support" for Ukraine on Tuesday in a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, her Brothers of Italy party said.

In one of her first calls with a foreign leader since winning an election last week, Meloni "underlined her commitment to every diplomatic effort useful for ending the conflict" with Russia, the party statement said.

It added that Zelenskiy had invited her to visit Kyiv as soon as possible and had expressed his gratitude for the arms that Italy had sent Ukraine following the Russian invasion.

Meloni has been one of the few Italian political leaders to wholeheartedly endorse outgoing Prime Minister Mario Draghi's decision to ship weapons to Ukraine, even though she was in opposition to his government.

By contrast, Meloni's two political allies, the League and Forza Italia, which were both in Draghi's coalition, have been much more ambivalent, reflecting their historically close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Underscoring the depth of those ties, Forza Italia leader Silvio Berlusconi said last month that Putin had been "pushed" into invading Ukraine and had wanted to put "decent people" in charge of Kyiv.

(Reporting by Federico Maccioni; Editing by Crispian Balmer)