Rome (Agencies): Downplaying the effects an impending prostitution trial may have on his government and political career, Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi said that he wasn't worried.

Hours before a meeting with Russia's President on Wednesday, 74-year-old leader Italian Premier made the first public comment since he was indicted Tuesday on charges he paid for sex with a 17-year-old Moroccan girl and then used his influence to cover it up.

Berlusconi has denied wrongdoing, dismissing the accusations as "groundless" and the case as a "farce" and a "shame." He has accused prosecutors of trying to topple his government.

On Wednesday, he dodged questions about the case during a news conference on economic themes in Rome.

"Out of love of my country, I won't talk about this," Berlusconi told reporters. "I can only say one thing: I'm not worried at all."

Berlusconi holds talks and a working dinner later Wednesday with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, his first international meeting since the indictment.

The prostitution trial starts April 6 before a court of three female judges — an ironic twist for the premier in the face of big protests by Italian women who contend the scandal and Berlusconi's view of women is degrading to female dignity.

The indictment marks a serious challenge to Berlusconi's grip on power at a time when the premier is weakened by an acrimonious split with an ex-ally. It reignited calls for Berlusconi's resignation, with the opposition contending the scandal, with revelations of allegedly wild parties at the premier's villas with scantily clad women, has embarrassed Italy and damaged its image abroad.

"A premier who is a defendant, who spends his days disputing the magistrates, is undoubtedly a man with no time to govern, and probably with no authority to do so effectively," a leading political analyst, Stefano Folli, wrote in Wednesday's editions of financial newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore. Without a clear way out, Folli said there was a risk of paralysis in parliament activity and in the executive.

While many of Berlusconi's allies quickly came to his defense in the face of the indictment Tuesday, Northern League leaders mostly kept silent, which many observers read as a sign of unease.

Berlusconi met with League leader and government minister Umberto Bossi and other party officials on Tuesday night, and came out of the talks saying the alliance is rock-solid.

He was elected in 2008. The next parliamentary elections are scheduled in 2013.