Italy's Draghi urges China to support peace efforts in Ukraine

Ukrainian President Zelenskiy addresses Italian parliament via videolink, in Rome
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi speaks after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's address to the Italian parliament via videolink, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Rome, Italy, March 22, 2022. REUTERS/Remo Casilli/Pool/File Photo

ROME, March 23 (Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi urged China on Wednesday not to support Russia after its invasion of Ukraine and to throw its weight behind efforts to bring peace to the country.

Speaking to the Italian parliament, Draghi also said that Russian President Vladimir Putin did not appear to be interested in agreeing a ceasefire that could allow negotiations to succeed.

"We need to repeat that we expect Beijing to avoid actions supporting Moscow and participate actively and with authority in peace efforts," Draghi said.

"The diplomatic effort can only succeed when Moscow really wants it too," the prime minister added.

However, Draghi said Putin appeared to be focused on securing more territory almost a month after the invasion began.

"His plan seems to be rather to gain military ground, including by means of carpet bombing like what we are seeing in Mariupol," Draghi said.

Turning his attention to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the Ukraine conflict, Draghi said it was a priority for European countries to increase production of computer chips to protect key industries.

"The shortage of semiconductors - essential for many strategic industries such as transport, industrial machinery, defence - has been particularly damaging." read more

Reporting by Angelo Amante Writing by Keith Weir

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