From the floor of the European Parliament, Francesca Donato expressed her objections to the dominant anti-Russia narrative on the war in Ukraine. Donato, who was a member of the Lega, but resigned in September after Matteo Salvini, the party’s leader, expressed his support for the “green pass” and other restrictive Covid measures, questioned the massacre of Ukrainian civilians by the Russians in Bucha. The chair of the parliament debate, socialist Pina Picerno, attacked Donato for daring to pose a question that challenged the left’s narrative.
Talking about the massacre of Ukrainian civilians in Bucha, she questioned the legitimacy of the Ukrainian government’s reports. She called for an independent inquiry into the events in the town west of Kyiv. She noted people are calling to end trade with Russia without knowing all of the facts about the massacre,
“The sanctions toward the people of Russia and Belarus have had no effect on the warfare scenario. Whereas they have triggered a very serious energy crisis, with impacts on the industrial, agricultural, and food systems within European countries.
Today I have heard people supporting a total Russian gas embargo. Which is absolutely unsustainable for our economy, actually. This is on the basis of the Bucha facts reported by the Ukrainian government. Whose truthfulness has already been doubted?”
Donato then went on to ask for an “independent inquiry into Ukraine” to “investigate the facts of what occurred and the real responsibilities for the violence and massacres towards civilians.” She noted that “the UN Under-Secretary-General” has already mentioned that “rapes committed by Ukrainian forces and Civil Protection militias were reported.”
In her speech, she also accused Ukraine of not being “neither democratic nor peaceful” towards the Russian-speaking populations before the conflict:
“I remind you, that before February 24 last, Ukraine was not exactly a peaceful country. Given that there has been a war in Donbas for eight years. In Donbas too, there have been massacres of Ukrainian civilians, women and children. And we remained indifferent to that. And it was not even a democratic country, given the government’s repressive measures against Russian-speaking citizens and the political opposition.”
Socialist Pina Picerno, who chaired the debate, immediately rebuked her remarks, stating:
“This Chamber cannot give voice to stances which are absolutely unacceptable.
The Bucha massacre images, Mrs. Donato, were seen by everyone. And I am going to speak clearly, we cannot accept that people in this Chamber cast doubt on that. The images of the massacres of innocent civilians that have been occurring right now are being seen by everyone. And we cannot accept that this may be questioned, in this Chamber.
Mrs. Donato, this Chamber is not super partes. There is an attacker, Putin and there are the attacked, the Ukrainian citizens. Whom this Chamber and the EU institutions defend. Please, deal with it. Let us give the floor to Mr. Bogdan, now.”
Following Picierno’s attack on Donato for calling for an investigation into the Bucha massacre, she released a written statement slamming the Parliament for denying her the right to speak and denying her freedom of expression:
At the end of my speech today in Plenary in Strasbourg, the Hon. Pina Picierno (PD), who chaired the session as vice president, irritably replied to my words with tones inadequate for the role she held.
She affirmed that ‘this Parliament cannot be a megaphone of unacceptable positions’ and ‘I do not allow these theses to be supported in this chamber,’ adding that “the Bucha massacre cannot be doubted” (although I do not have at all questioned, but has asked for an investigation to ascertain the responsibility, in the face of objective elements of ambiguity) and arguing that Russian responsibility is undeniable.
Finally, she concluded with, ‘this Parliament is not equidistant if you are right.” Unfortunately, today we have witnessed a truly degrading page for what should be the symbolic institution of European democracy: the right to speak and the freedom of expression of an MEP, in the exercise of his functions, is denied by the President during the debate in the classroom, distorting the essence of the debate itself. Really a disturbing page and a bad show for citizens who believe in democracy.