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Italy’s Draghi says ready to step up curbs on Russia, hit oligarchs

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi makes a statement on the Ukraine crisis, in Rome, Italy, February 24, 2022. Remo Casilli/REUTERS/Pool

ROME (Reuters) -Italy is ready to impose further sanctions on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, including targeting its oligarchs and increasing pressure on the central bank, Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Tuesday.

Draghi also condemned Russia for putting its nuclear deterrent on high alert, telling parliament that this amounted to blackmail and showed the effectiveness of the resistance to the invasion launched last week by President Vladimir Putin.

The United States, Britain, Europe and Canada imposed a wave of punishing sanctions on Russia in the wake of the military action, and Draghi said more could be in the offing.

“In particular, I have proposed further targeted measures against the oligarchs. The idea is to create a public international register of those with assets over 10 million euros ($11.2 million),” said Draghi.

The former president of the European Central Bank said he wanted to intensify pressure on the Russian Central Bank, adding that the Swiss-based Bank for International Settlements should participate in the sanctions.

Draghi said it was vital that Europe did not let Russian aggression win and asked parliament to approve government plans to send weapons to Ukraine to help it defend itself. A vote on the issue is expected later in the day.

He said the European Union now needed to spend more on defence, telling lawmakers that the Russian assault was a turning point in European history.

“The heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people, of its president (Volodymyr) Zelenskiy, confronts us with a new reality and forces us to make choices that were unthinkable just a few months ago,” he said. ($1 = 0.8932 euros)

Italy’s Draghi says ready to step up curbs on Russia, hit oligarchs

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