Italy’s Draghi urges EU countries to act quickly on Russian sanctions

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Italy’s prime minister called on Monday for European Union countries to act swiftly with sanctions against Russian individuals and companies following Moscow’s attack on Ukraine.

“And now we have to act, all of us, with speed on this point,” Mario Draghi said in Brussels in brief comments to reporters ahead of a meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

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On Saturday, the Italian government said police seized villas and yachts worth 143 million euros ($154.94 million) from five high-profile Russians who were placed on sanctions lists.

In separate remarks after meeting von der Leyen, Draghi said Italy, France and Germany were swiftly implementing sanctions against Russian oligarchs, while “others less so.” He didn’t give further details.

“We don’t rule out more sanctions, but we didn't discuss this (with von der Leyen),” Draghi said.

Russia’s invasion, which has been condemned around the world, has sent more than 1.5 million Ukrainians fleeing abroad and triggered sweeping sanctions that have abruptly isolated Russia to a degree never before experienced by such a large economy.

The former European Central Bank chief said he believed Russia’s aim was “to carry on until the country (Ukraine) has surrendered, probably set up a friendly government and defeat the resistance, that is what the facts show.”

He said Italy has no objections to Ukraine becoming a member of the European Union, but added that this is a long procedure which usually needs deep reforms.

“We support Ukrainian membership of the European family,” he said.

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