President Zelensky urges Italy lawmakers not to let Russia's elite party

President Zelensky urges Italy lawmakers not to let Russia's elite party

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged Italian lawmakers Tuesday to stop their country being a playground for Russia's elite, while warning food shortages sparked by the war risk a fresh migrant crisis.

Italy's MPs gave a standing ovation to Zelensky as he delivered the latest of a series of video speeches to Western parliaments in an effort to drum up support following Russia's invasion of his country on February 24.

The ownership of the multi-million-dollar mega yacht Scheherazade, docked on the Tuscan coast, is currently the source of speculation that it belongs to a Russian oligarch, or even perhaps President Vladimir Putin himself.

Speaking after Zelensky, Prime Minister Mario Draghi said Rome had so far seized over 800 million euros ($880 million) worth of assets belonging to EU-sanctioned Russian oligarchs, including a 530-million-euro yacht.

Italy has taken in 60,000 Ukrainians, mostly women and children, who have fled their homeland.

Zelensky -- whose speeches to parliaments are carefully targeted at the local audience -- also raised the spectre of people arriving in Italy from countries hit by a food crisis caused by the war.

Italy has been on the front line of migration into Europe for years, with hundreds of thousands of people fleeing conflicts or climate change attempting the perilous Mediterranean crossing in recent years from the coasts of north Africa.

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