Russia Ukraine conflict

Italy’s PM demands Russia ‘withdraw unconditionally’ from Ukraine

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Prime Minister Mario Draghi demanded Thursday Russia “withdraw unconditionally” from Ukraine, saying the invasion of the pro-Western nation “concerns all of us, our lives as free people, our democracy.”

Italy and its allies urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to “put an immediate end to the bloodshed and to unconditionally withdraw his military forces,” adding that Rome was “strengthening” its contribution to military deployment in “the most directly exposed” countries.

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The foreign ministry said earlier it had summoned the Russian ambassador over the “clear and distinct violation of international law” following what Rome slammed an “unjustified and unjustifiable” assault.

Draghi has faced criticism in some quarters for appearing lukewarm over Western sanctions against Russia, saying they should not include energy imports. Russia is a key supplier of gas to Italy.

But Thursday he said Italy was “fully aligned” with its partners and would decide “on a very tough package of sanctions against Russia.”

“We have made it clear in every forum that we are ready to impose severe consequences if Russia... rejects our attempts to resolve the crisis through political means. Now is the time to apply them,” he said.

Rome would “do whatever it takes to preserve Ukraine’s sovereignty, Europe’s security, and the integrity of the international order based on the rules and values we all share,” he said.

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