Kyiv, Ukraine as night falls and air raid sirens sound

Mario Draghi: Putin must “put an end to the bloodshed”


As the horror of the Russian invasion of Ukraine unfolded, Italy condemned Russia’s aggression. All political parties were unanimous in condemning the Russian violation of Ukraine’s sovereign territory.

Italian Premier Mario Draghi said Russian President Vladimir Putin must “put an end to the bloodshed and withdraw military forces from (within) the borders of Ukraine in an unconditional way,” on Thursday.

He said the EU was preparing a “tough package of sanctions” and dialogue with Moscow was “impossible” at the moment. “These are hours of great worry for the citizens,” he said.

“Tomorrow [Friday] I will report to parliament about the ongoing conflict. The government intends to work ceaselessly to resolve the crisis together with our allies and we will do everything necessary to guarantee the sovereignty of Ukraine, the security of the EU and the international order based on the rules agreed by us all.

“Ukraine is a European country, a friendly nation and a democracy that has been hit in its legitimate sovereignty,” he added.

The Italian embassy in Kiev remains “open and fully operative, maintaining contact with the Ukraine authorities, in close coordination with the other embassies, in order to protect around 2,000 Italian resident (in Ukraine). The embassy remains on maximum alert, ready to adopt every decision necessary.”

On Monday, the Foreign Minister urged Italian nationals to leave Ukraine.

Parties unanimous in condemnation

Italy’s main political parties on Thursday were unanimous in condemning Russia’s attack on Ukraine. That included groups which were previously sympathetic to Moscow.

 The Senate whips of the centre-left Democratic Party, the 5-Star Movement (M5S), the League, ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (FI), the left-wing LeU group and the opposition, right-wing Brothers of Italy (FdI) party all condemned the aggression and called on Premier Mario Draghi to report to parliament on the crisis as soon as possible.

“The League condemns all military aggression,” said League leader Matteo Salvini. “The hope is for an immediate stop to the violence. Support for Draghi for a common response from the allies”.

FdI leader Giorgia Meloni said via Facebook that the “large-scale” attack was “unacceptable” and took Europe back “to a past that we hoped we would not experience again. “It is time to choose sides,” she said. “The West and the international community are united in adopting every useful measure to support Kiev and the respect of international law”.

Defence Minister and senior PD member Lorenzo Guerini said it was an “extremely serious attack on a sovereign state and on the fundamental principles of international law. The international community must respond in a firm, cohesive manner,” he added.

Supreme Defence Council sits

The Supreme Defence Council (CSD) met on Thursday, chaired by President Sergio Mattarella. The CSD commented Russia’s attack on Ukraine is “unjustifiable military aggression.”
 “It is necessary to act with force and far-sightedness,” the CSD added. The council said Italy was urging Russia to pull its troops out of Ukraine.

Vatican prays for speedy resolution

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolini said on Thursday there was still time to spare the world of the madness and horror of war.

“There is still time for good will, there is room for negotiation, there is still a place for wisdom that may prevent partial interests prevailing, that may safeguard everyone’s legitimate aspirations and may spare the world the madness and horrors of war,” he said after Russia’s invasion.

“We believers have not lost hope of a glimmer of conscience by those who have the world’s destiny in their hands. And we continue to pray and fast – we will do so next Ash Wednesday – for peace in Ukraine and the whole world.”

Conductor Gergiev “must condemn Ukraine invasion”

 In Milan, the mayor Giuseppe Sala said conductor on Thursday that the conductor Valery Gergiev, must condemn the attack on Ukraine. Gergiev is a supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, but if he wants to continue his collaboration with Teatro alla Scala, he has to speak out. He is currently directing Tchaikovsky’s Pique Dame in Milan.

“We have at the Scala ‘Pique Dame’ directed by Maestro Valery Gergiev who has repeatedly declared that he is close to Putin”, Sala said. “We have been asking him, with the theatre’s superintendent, to take a clear position against this invasion. And, if he will not do it, we will be forced to end this collaboration”, said the mayor. “We must intervene when faced with these situations”, he concluded.

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