The Foreign Minister, Luigi Di Maio, on Monday urged Italians to leave Ukraine. Italy is on maximum alert, he said.
Di Maio reiterated the only solution to the crisis was diplomatic, stressing a Russian invasion would have “devastating” effects.
“Our embassy in Kiev is carrying out several evacuation trials for the staff, and is urging all Italians in Ukraine to leave the country. But, the embassy remains open and fully operational, because we want to give a signal of closeness to the Ukrainian people and we believe in diplomacy”, he said after an EU foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels.
“The situation of the last few hours is greatly concerning to us,” he added. “Italy is on maximum alert in order to address events with the maximum preparation”.
OSCE monitoring the situation
The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) was of fundamental importance in monitoring the situation. Fifteen Italians are among its mission in Ukraine.
Moscow said on Monday it had “eliminated” five Ukrainian “saboteurs” who had allegedly broached the border with Russia. It reports it also destroyed two infantry combat vehicles that crossed the border. Kiev denies all these reports.
Russian President Vladimir Putin told French President Emmanuel Macron he would not rule out a summit with US President Joe Biden. However, he insists the goals of such a summit must first be established.
Putin also accused KIev of preparing “another action against Donbass.” There are two pro-Russian self-proclaimed breakaway republics, which have requested Moscow to recognize them.
Putin said he would make a decision later today “based on developments in the situation”, TASS said. He also said the possibility of Ukraine joining NATO in the future would present a “dramatic threat for Russia”.