Ukraine: Rome to stage another candlelight march for peace

Rome sets up task force to help Ukrainians fleeing war.

Rome is preparing for another candlelight procession against Russia's invasion of Ukraine and in support of the Ukrainian people, on Friday 4 March at 19.30.

The event was announced by Rome's mayor Roberto Gualtieri who led the crowds during the first march last Friday evening from city hall to the Colosseum.

"It will be an opportunity to reaffirm our support and closeness to the Ukrainian people at this difficult time" - Gualtieri said - "I am sure that many mayors and administrators from all over Italy will participate to demonstrate strongly the unity of our country for peace and against a very serious and unacceptable military aggression."

The mayor's invitation to join the march for peace comes as the capital sets up a emergency task force to coordinate aid, assistance and hospitality to Ukrainians fleeing the war, in support of the associations and volunteers already offering help.

The task force will be active from 3 March and can be contacted on the toll-free number 800938873 and by email emergencies.ucraina@comune.Roma.it

Gualtieri has also signed the declaration of the mayors of the "Pact of Free Cities" to welcome the city of Kiev into the alliance.

The declaration was signed by the first citizens of Amsterdam, Barcelona, Bratislava, Budapest, Frankfurt, Gdansk, London, Los Angeles, Milan, Paris, Podgorica, Prague, Rijeka, Rome, Stuttgart, Taipei, Taoyuan, Tirana, Ulm, Neu-Ulm , Vienna, Warsaw and Zagreb.

"As mayors of the 'Pact of Free Cities' we strongly condemn President Putin's armed aggression against Ukraine" - reads the declaration - "This invasion is one of the most serious threats to peace and security in Europe since world war two."

The mayors pledged to offer "resources, support and help to the Ukrainian population", concluding: "We stand in solidarity with them in the struggle for freedom and democracy."