Italy promises arms to Ukraine and aid to refugees

The Ukrainian national flag is seen in front of a school which local residents say was set on fire after the shelling, as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv, Ukraine February 28, 2022. REUTERS/Vitaliy Gnidyi/ File Photo

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ROME, Feb 28 (Reuters) – Italy said on Monday it would supply arms to Ukraine and offered aid to its refugees fleeing the Russian invasion.

A decree passed by Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s cabinet pledged “vehicles, material and military equipment for the Ukrainian government”. The decision must be approved by Parliament before it can enter into force.

The decree also introduced a state of emergency until the end of this year to help Ukrainian refugees and contained measures to reduce Italy’s dependence on gas to power its power plants, should this prove to be true. necessary.

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Rome’s moves came as Russian and Ukrainian officials met on the Belarusian border to discuss a ceasefire as Russian forces met determined resistance from Ukrainian troops and civilians on the fifth day of the conflict.

Draghi’s government has allocated 10 million euros ($11.2 million) to strengthen facilities for refugees, increasing the capacity of its reception centers to up to 16,000 places.

The firm has also set up a fund of 500,000 euros intended to allow Ukrainian students, researchers and teachers to continue their work in Italian universities and artistic institutes.

As Italy grapples with soaring energy costs that were hurting businesses and households even before the war in Ukraine, the government has authorized preventative measures should the emergency escalate.

These included “reducing gas consumption in power plants through maximizing production from other sources, in addition to the contribution of renewables”. Read more

Draghi’s office said the decree gave Italian power grid company Terna (TRN.MI) “a series of tasks” to make reducing gas consumption possible, without going into details.

($1 = 0.8898 euros)

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Reporting by Gavin Jones; Editing by Crispian Balmer and Keith Weir

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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