The Italian Ambassador Diego Ungaro ended his term in Lithuania.
Arriving in September 2020, Ungaro had to face a period characterized by crises that shocked the entire world: the pandemic that forced many countries to close businesses and social relations and the war unleashed by Russia against Ukraine.
We interviewed the Ambassador shortly before he left Lithuania for Italy.
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Ungaro, with the end of the mission in Lithuania, also ended his diplomatic career.
Graduated in Political Science at La Sapienza University of Rome, he later obtained a master’s degree in International Relations at SAIS/John Hopkins University in Washington.
He has held various positions as a diplomat in countries such as Austria, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan. He was in Moscow in the early 1990s and witnessed the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Despite the hard period at an international level in which his mission in Lithuania took place, Ungaro believes that the two experiences also served to increase relations between the countries of the European Union: “… Covid had blocked and isolated every country, every community. People were forced into self-isolation. All of this was also a great opportunity to join forces to fight the pandemic. The solidarity that emerged in buying vaccines together, in spreading their use, was a great experience, a great, extraordinary growth”.
The war, still ongoing, has had, and is having, an even greater impact. “… This is the other great episode that also marked these three years of mine. An unprovoked attack in clear violation of international law. An attempt to cancel, to deny the cultural identity of a country other than Russia”.
Lithuania, which borders the exclave of the Russian Federation of Kaliningrad and Belarus, has found itself facing a war very close to and coming from the country which has threatened its security and independence since the times of the Tsars.
“…What struck me in Lithuania was the very strong mobilization of the population, the government, the institutions in support of Ukraine”.
The ambassador was also very impressed by how Lithuanians managed to regain their independence from the Soviet Union in 1990, and incredible event called «the Baltic Way».
“It was a great experience – he says – being able to meet the people who lived those moments”. Among these was Vytautas Landsbergis, who affirmed, in front of the then Secretary of the USSR Gorbachev, the will of the entire Lithuanian people to be independent.
Ungaro also underlines Italy’s military commitment to the security of the entire Baltic region. Italy is actively involved with military ships in the Baltic Sea, aircraft in the Šiauliai base, and with the Bersaglieri in Latvia.
Just as it is equally important to highlight, says the Ambassador, the strengthening of economic and cultural relations in various fields between Italy and Lithuania.
“Thank you, Vilnius – concludes the Ambassador – thank you Lithuania, thank you Lithuanian men and women for the richness of these exchanges which have enriched me and through my presence, through the effort of the entire embassy, have also consolidated and grown the bilateral relations between the two countries”.
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