During his 12-minute address to the Italian parliament, Ukraine President, Volodymyr Zelensky asked for more sanctions against Russia. Zelensky outlined crimes committed by Russian invaders against his people.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said sanctions on Russia needed to be stepped up. He addressed the Italian parliament via video link on Tuesday.
“The Ukraine people supported you during the pandemic. We sent you doctors, and the Italians helped us during the flood (of 2020),” Zelensky said. “We are grateful, but the invasion has lasted 27 days, almost a month, and we need more sanctions, more pressure.”
Guilty of war crimes
Zelensky told parliament the Russian invaders of his country were guilty of crimes like those committed by the Nazis.
“In Kyiv they torture, they rape, they kidnap children, they destroy and they take away our assets in trucks,” Zelensky said. “The last time this was done in Europe was by the Nazis. The Russian army has even mined the sea near to our ports. This is a danger to countries close to us too.”
Zelensky said that “our people has become the army”. He added, Ukraine “has seen the evil the enemy brings, how much devastation it leaves and how much blood it sheds.”
Zelensky received a standing ovation of Italian MPs and Senators both at the start and end of his address.
In response, Prime Minister Draghi said Italy won’t look the other way on the “barbarism” of the Russian assault on Ukraine. He also praised the “heroic” resistance of the Ukrainian people faced with the “ferocity” of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Draghi said Italy had frozen assets worth over €800 million belonging to Russian oligarchs; that Rome wanted Kyiv in the EU; and that Italy would send military as well as other aid in view of the “massacres” Russian troops are perpetrating.
Call to seize more Russian assets
Zelensky also called for Putin and his wealthy backers to have all their assets frozen to put pressure on them to end the invasion of Ukraine.
“Don’t be a resort for murderers. Block all their real estate, accounts and yachts – from the Scheherazade to the smallest ones”. Zelensky was referring to a superyacht that is moored in the Italian port of Marina di Carrara.
The six-deck vessel has two helicopter landing pads and can host up 18 guests and 40 crew. Its owner has never been publicly identified, but there have been insistent rumours in the media that it belongs to Putin or a member of his inner circle.
An organisation set up by the imprisoned Alexei Navalny, a fierce Putin critic, released a report on Monday saying it had evidence that the boat belonged to the Russian leader.
It said many of its crew were drawn from Russia’s Federal Protective Service (FSO), which is tasked with protecting the Russian president, and regularly flew to Italy.