Italian political parties have said in unison that a Russian foreign ministry official who threatened Italy with “irreversible consequences” if it upped sanctions due to the Ukraine war should be stripped of the honorific titles Rome has conferred on him. Alexei Paramonov, director of the ministry’s European department, was named a Knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic in 2018 and a Commander of the Order of the Star of Italy in 2020. Foreign undersecretary Benedetto Della Vedova of the More Europe party said he would ask Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio to add Paramonov’s name to the list of Russians who are set to have their Italian titles revoked. The foreign ministry is only responsible for revoking the title of Knight, while the premier’s office is responsible for revoking the title of Commander.
The centre-left Democratic Party (PD), the centrist Italia Viva (IV) party and others called for the two honours to be revoked. Paramonov’s threat caused outrage in Italy and was described as “unacceptable” by Premier Mario Draghi. Some 59,589 refugees have come from Ukraine to Italy since the start of the Russian invasion of their country, the interior ministry said Monday. Some 30,499 are women, 23,877 minors and 5,213 men, the ministry said. A little under 4,000 refugees have crossed the Italian border in the last 48 hours, the ministry said.
The main destinations declared upon entry are still Milan, Rome, Naples and Bologna. Some 300 Italian workers are at risk in Italian firms in Ukraine, the head of Confindustria Ucraina, Marco Toson, said Monday. Toson said the local industrial employers body had advised them to leave before but they had stayed put and were now in danger. “Unfortunately they refused a transfer in the last few days thinking that things might get better. “Instead the situation has got worse and in this moment we are working to try to get them out. “There is no loss, no injured, but they are now in more peculiar situations. “They should have heeded the warnings to (get out) a few days ago, they decided to stay and now they are risking (their lives)”.
Toson said the Italian foreign ministry and the Italian embassy in Kyiv were working on the issue. Premier Mario Draghi on Monday hailed the way the Italian public and institutions have responded to help the people of Ukraine after the Russian invasion during a visit to a civil protection hub in Palmanova, on the northeastern region of Friuli Venezia Giulia. “The way we responded to the emergencies of the last year years has been to integrate the decisions of (central) government with those of the regions and the (town and city) councils,” Draghi said after seeing four lorries loaded with medicines and medical equipment leave the hub to take aid to Ukraine. “This institutional alliance is an asset that we must keep, including in the reception of 60,000 Ukrainian citizens up to now and who-knows-how-many more in the future. “It will be fundamental. The key decision that the government took was to listen to the Italian people, their willingness to help, their enthusiasm, their goodness. “Support for the reception (of refugees) will not be lacking”. (ANSA).