Moscow’s “extremely serious” attack on the former Soviet republic was “a clear and distinct violation of international law,” Italy’s foreign ministry said.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Thursday described Russia’s attack on Ukraine as “unjustified and unjustifiable,” saying Europe and NATO were working on an immediate response.
EXPLAINED: How Italy could be impacted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
“The Italian Government condemns Russia’s attack on Ukraine. It is unjustified and unjustifiable. Italy is close to the Ukrainian people and institutions in this dramatic moment. We are working with European and NATO allies to respond immediately, with unity and determination,” Draghi said in a statement.
Draghi called a meeting of the government’s security committee over the offensive, which was launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin in the early hours of Thursday after a surprise televised address.
Support for Ukraine will be on the agenda at an emergency summit to be held in Brussels late Thursday.
The summit follows the EU’s adoption of sanctions against Russia for declaring pro-Moscow separatist regions of Ukraine to be independent and mandating military forces to enter them.
Overnight, the Kremlin said the heads of eastern Ukraine’s rebel republics had asked Russian President Vladimir Putin for “help” to “repel aggression” from the Ukrainian army.
Unlike most of its Western neighbours, Italy has historically relatively friendly ties with Putin, backed by strong, long-standing investments by Italian corporations in Russia.
Putin recently stressed the importance of energy industry ties between Russia and Italy, which is one of the European countries most reliant on imports of natural gas.
But since becoming prime minister in February 2021, Draghi has emphasised Italy’s commitments to the EU and NATO.