"Italy strongly condemns the invasion, which we consider unacceptable. Russia's attack is a very serious violation of the sovereignty of a free and democratic state, of international treaties, and of the most fundamental European values". Prime Minister Mario Draghi said this in the briefing to the Chamber on the conflict, asking Moscow to "immediately withdraw the troops and return to negotiations".

An offensive that "has already hit the Ukrainian population in a tragic way. The images we witness - of defenseless citizens forced to hide in bunkers and subways - are terrible and take us back to the darkest days in European history. There are long queues. of cars leaving Kiev and other Ukrainian cities, especially towards the border with the EU ".

"ZELENSKY IS HIDDEN" - The premier reports on what happened in the night, when "a rain of missiles fell on Kiev, while the army besieged various cities along the road between the border and the city", recalling that "the Russian army has taken control of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant area". He claims that "Zelensky told us he runs out of time and is now in hiding."

"The approximately 2000 compatriots present" in Ukraine, adds Draghi, "were recommended to follow the instructions of the local authorities and to evaluate with extreme caution the movements by land inside and outside the country. In light of the closure of the airspace and the critical situation on the ground, we are planning a safe evacuation in coordination with the main embassies of the European Union ".

THANKS AND SOLIDARITY - The premier thanks "Ambassador Pier Francesco Zazo and all the staff of the Embassy for the professionalism, dedication, courage they are showing in these hours. And I want to thank Minister Di Maio, the diplomats and all the staff of the Farnesina, for their relentless commitment ". This passage was greeted with a long applause from the Montecitorio hall.

"The Italian Embassy in Kiev is open, fully operational, and maintains relations with the Ukrainian authorities, in coordination with the other embassies, also for the protection of Italian residents. It remains on maximum alert and is ready for any decision. We have already done so. to move staff to a safer place ".

The premier expresses his solidarity with the Ukrainian people and with President Zelensky, calling the return of war to Europe "intolerable" and announcing a "huge flow of refugees into Europe". A firm condemnation that goes not only to Russia, but also to Belarus, fully involved in Putin's war.

SANCTIONS AND GAS - The sanctions: "We have approved very stringent and incisive measures, which have been in preparation for weeks. The related legislative acts are being discussed in Brussels at the moment, and for this reason I cannot give an exhaustive account of them. They will be finalized. and adopted in a very short time. On Tuesday I will return to the topic ".

The impact on our economy is worrying, underlined the premier, "which must be considered with particular attention, especially as regards the energy sector, which has already been hit by the rises in recent months. About 45% of the gas we import comes from Russia. , up from 27% ten years ago ".

He says the government is "hard at work to increase alternative gas supplies" and will still take action against expensive bills: "Coal-fired power plants may need to be reopened to fill any shortfalls in the short term. The government is ready to intervene. to further control the price of energy, where this is necessary ".

(Unioneonline / L)

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