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IN PICTURES: Thousands in Italy march for peace in Ukraine

Tens of thousands of Italians marched through Rome on Saturday calling for peace in Ukraine and urging Italy to stop sending of weapons to fight the Russian invasion.

People march with a rainbow flag that says 'no violence' in Rome
People march on November 5, 2022 in Rome during a national peace demonstration by Italian civil society organisations, demanding a ban on all nuclear weapons, solidarity with the Ukrainian people and the victims of all wars. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)

“No to war. No to sending weapons”, read one large banner carried by protesters, as a vast crowd broke into cries of “give peace a chance”.

People marching on November 5, 2022 in Rome holding a banner reading “Total disarmament and peace now”. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)

Nato founding member Italy has supported Ukraine from the start of the war, including providing it with arms.

A man takes part in the national peace demonstration by Italian civil society organisations working together in the Europe for Peace coalition, holding a placard reading “no more war, weapons and propaganda”. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)

New far-right Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has said that will not change and the government has said it is expecting to send more weapons soon.

But some, including former prime minister Giuseppe Conte, have said Italy should be stepping up negotiations instead.

Leader of Italian populist Five Star movement M5S (Movimento Cinque Stelle), Giuseppe Conte (C) marches on November 5, 2022 in Rome. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)

The peace rally was attended by some 30,000 people, Rome police told Italian media.

“The weapons were sent at the beginning on the grounds that this would prevent an escalation,” demonstrator Roberto Zanotto told AFP.

People hold banners and placards at the march on November 5, 2022 in Rome. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)

“Nine months later and it seems to me that there’s been an escalation. Look at the facts: sending weapons does not help stop a war, weapons help fuel a war.”

Student Sara Gianpietro said the conflict was being dragged out by arming Ukraine, which “has economic consequences for our country, but for the respect of human rights too”.

The Group of Seven foreign ministers, including Italy, on Friday vowed to continue supporting Ukraine in the fight against Russia.

READ ALSO: Q&A: What can we expect from Italy’s new government?

Member comments

  1. I have been a lifelong pacifist, but this is different. It is an unprovoked invasion. Unspeakable war crimes are being committed (torture, rape, bombing of civilian homes and infrastructure). Putin has made it clear that he thinks Ukrainian culture does not deserve to exist. I can’t figure out what kind of negotiation Conte thinks is possible with this war criminal. Let him keep Crimea and Donbas? So that he can fortify his troops and invade more of Ukraine in the future? If he had invaded a few Italian regions I don’t think we would letting him keep, for example, Lombardia or Veneto – or even a small one, such as Molise!

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UKRAINE

Italy to send missile systems to Ukraine

Italy and France have together agreed to deliver mobile surface-to-air missile systems to Ukraine, the French defence ministry said on Friday.

Italy to send missile systems to Ukraine

The systems, called MAMBA or SAMP/T, are a vehicle-mounted battery of medium-range missiles designed to offer protection from airborne threats such as missiles and manned or unmanned aircraft.

The missile systems, jointly developed by NATO members France and Italy, will help Ukraine “defend itself against Russian drones, missiles and aircraft”, the ministry said.

The deliveries were a response to an urgent request by Ukraine’s defence minister Oleksiy Reznikov made to his French and Italian counterparts to assist with “the protection of civilian populations and infrastructure from Russian air attacks”, it said in a statement.

During a visit by Reznikov to Paris on Tuesday, French Defence Minister Sebastien Lecornu had already announced that his country would ship 12 more Caesar truck-mounted howitzers and fresh air defence equipment to Ukraine.

France has yet to commit to sending Leclerc main battle tanks to Ukraine, another insistent request by Kyiv.

The MAMBA delivery had been under discussion for several weeks, and was finalised Friday in a phone call between Cornu and his Italian counterpart, Guido Crosetto, the statement said.

The systems, similar to the American Patriot systems, are to be delivered in the spring, the French ministry said.

One MAMBA was last year deployed in Romania, a NATO member sharing a border with Ukraine. With its range of 100 kilometres (62 miles) “we can fight a wide range of airborne threats”, a member of the French military with experience of the system told AFP in December.

These include short-range ballistic missiles, fighter planes, helicopters, drones “and even salvos of cruise missiles with multiple warheads”.

France has also promised to ship a radar system of the Ground Master 200 type made by French defence contractor Thales to Ukraine.

The radar allows detection of enemy airborne forces at 250 kilometres, and fight them at 100 kilometres. The radar, which can be moved by truck, also detects mortar and artillery fire at launch, acting as an early warning system.

READ MORE: IN PICTURES: Thousands in Italy march for peace in Ukraine

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