Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi called Wednesday for the United States to engage Russia on Ukraine, amid a US push to isolate President Vladimir Putin.
A day after meeting US President Joe Biden at the White House, Draghi said that any effort for peace talks "has to involve all the allies but in particular, of course, Russia and the United States."
"There has to be a table with everyone. Ukraine is definitely the main player at that table," he told reporters in Washington.
He called for "avoiding suspicion" of an "imposed peace that suits the United States, Europeans or the Russians but is not acceptable to the Ukrainians."
The Biden administration met at top levels with Russia in hopes of preventing the February 24 invasion, but has since had little contact with Moscow, saying that it sees little point to diplomacy without the Russians de-escalating.
The United States and its allies, including Italy, have instead focused on imposing costs on Russian President Vladimir Putin and supporting Ukraine in its defense.
US officials have increasingly spoken of imposing a strategic defeat on Putin and of ensuring accountability over atrocities in the invasion.
Draghi, however, said it was necessary "not to forget, as that is impossible, but also to look to the future."
Draghi voiced reservations about a US push to exclude Putin from the Group of 20 summit planned in November in Indonesia.
"On the one hand, we're all tempted not to sit at the same table as Putin. But the rest of the world will be around that table and to get up would mean abandoning the rest of the world," he said.
Sweden and Finland have formally submitted their applications to join Nato, in one of the biggest geopolitical consequences to date of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.