Don't go to fight in Ukraine, Italian foreign ministry says

ROME, March 24 (Reuters) - Italian nationals should not go and fight in Ukraine, the foreign ministry said on Thursday, following media reports that some Italians have signed up to battle the Russian invasion.

A foreign ministry statement said such conduct "may be considered criminally relevant under current legislation," and reiterated its advice that Italians should not enter Ukraine.

Eugenio Spina, head of the Italian police unit investigating terrorism and extremism, estimated around 20 Italians were fighting in Ukraine, some with national forces others, with pro-Russian militia.

"At the moment we do not have a sustained flow (of people), just lots of people saying they want to go," Spina said.

Kyiv has established an "international" legion for foreigners and President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has publicly urged outsiders to "fight side-by-side with Ukrainians". read more

He said earlier this month that more than 16,000 foreigners had volunteered, without specifying how many had arrived.

The Italian foreign ministry said any fighter could face charges of hostile acts against a foreign state that expose Italy to war, and for recruiting or arming people to serve another nation.

Reporting by Angelo Amante Editing by Alexandra Hudson

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.