Italy has called for "strong" action by the European Union and the United Nations to stop a surge in migrant boat departures from North Africa and Egypt, warning that it cannot turn the tide single-handedly.
"We need strong action by the EU and the UN because Italy cannot handle the problem alone," foreign minister Antonio Tajani told the Porta Porta talk show.
The influx of migrants in the Mediterranean is "extremely concerning", Tajani said, noting that there "various complicated situations" at play which are driving the migrants to Europe.
"The Wagner Group has a strong presence in areas where a large number of migrants depart from," Tajani said.
Tajani was referring to the Russian mercenary group with close ties to Russia's president Vladimir Putin, which Italy accuses of driving the surge in migrant boat departures as part of Moscow's strategy to retaliate against countries supporting Ukraine.
"Something is amiss and we're looking into it, someone is aiding these departures, there are various factors at play which could cause the situation to explode," Tajani stated.
Libya, especially the east of the country controlled by Wagner associate and military strongman Khalifa Haftar, sub-Saharan Africa, where Wagner has a "strong" presence, and Egypt are under scrutiny, Tajani said.