Italy ready to send Ukraine weapons and take in refugees

Italian government declares state of emergency to help refugees fleeing Russian invasion.

Italy is set to provide Ukraine with weapons and aid in response to Russia's invasion of the country last week, the Italian government announced on Monday evening.

Under a decree approved by premier Mario Draghi's cabinet, Italy pledges to transfer "military vehicles, materials and equipment" to the government of Ukraine.

The decree, which must be passed today by parliament to take effect, establishes a state of emergency to allow Italian civil protection authorities to support EU efforts in offering relief and assistance to people in Ukraine affected by the war.

The emergency legislation, in force until the end of this year, will allow Italy to help Italy take in Ukrainian refugees, with the government allocating funds of €10 million for refugee centres and increasing their capacity by up to 16,000 places.

The decree contains measures aimed at addressing the "level of unforeseen risk" to Italy's national gas system, reports news agency ANSA, including reducing power stations' reliance on gas, if necessary.

The cabinet also established a €500,000 fund to support Ukrainian students, researchers and teachers, to help them continue their studies and work in Italian universities, arts institutes and research centres.

Photo ANSA