Italy's Draghi promises "whatever it takes" to restore Ukrainian sovereignty

ROME, Feb 24 (Reuters) - The West will do everything necessary to restore full Ukrainian sovereignty over its lands, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Thursday, promising tough sanctions against Russia for invading its neighbour.

Speaking in a televised address, Draghi said it was impossible to have meaningful dialogue with Moscow and demanded that Russia unconditionally pull its forces back to the internationally established borders.

"We have our allies at our side ... together we will do whatever it takes to preserve Ukraine's sovereignty, Europe's security, and the integrity of the international order based on the rules and values we all share," he said.

His comment echoed a famous pledge that he made in 2012, when he was president of the European Central Bank, to do "whatever it takes" to save the euro.

Draghi offered the "full and unconditional solidarity" of Italy towards Ukraine and said the Italian embassy would remain open and fully operational in Kyiv.

"What is happening in Ukraine concerns all of us, our existence as free people, our democracy," he said, adding that European Union leaders would impose a "very tough package of sanctions" on Russia later in the day.

"We have made it clear in every forum that we are ready to impose severe consequences ... Now is the time to apply them."

Reporting by Crispian Balmer and Giuseppe Fonte; Editing by Keith Weir

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