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UKRAINE

One dead as coach carrying Ukraine refugees crashes in Italy

A mother of two was killed when a bus carrying Ukrainian refugees overturned on a motorway near Bologna on Sunday morning.

An ambulance driver waits as vehicles line up outside the main emergency access at a hospital in Italy.
Illustration photo of ambulances waiting outside a hospital in Italy. Photo: ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP

The 32-year-old woman and her two children, aged 10 and five, were among 22 people onboard escaping the war in Ukraine, according to Italian newspapers.

The woman died at the scene and her children were taking to Bufalini hospital with bruises. They have been hospitalised as doctors give them psychological support, according to reports in Italian media.

Video footage shot by emergency services showed the bus on its side in a ditch by a road southeast of Bologna following the early morning incident.

The accident occurred on the highway between Cesena and Rimini, on the north eastern coast. Pictures posted by the fire fighters on Twitter show the bus had overturned.

The bus landed on its side on a grassy slope just beyond a highway guardrail and near a farm field beside the A14 motorway at about 6.30am on Sunday. Firefighters used two cranes to set the bus upright and remove it.

Italy’s Interior Ministry said the bus had set out from Ukraine and was heading south to Pescara, an Adriatic port city, when it overturned.  

35,000 Ukrainians refugees who fled war in their homeland have entered Italy, most of them through its northeastern border with Slovenia.

What caused the bus to overturn is under investigation.

READ ALSO: Russian invasion: What has Italy’s response been so far?

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ENERGY

Italian energy company to start paying for Russian gas in rubles

Italian energy company Eni confirmed it is opening accounts in rubles with Gazprombank to pay for gas supplies, complying with Moscow's demands.

Italian energy company to start paying for Russian gas in rubles

Eni said in a statement on Tuesday it was opening accounts in rubles and euros with Gazprom Bank “on a precautionary basis” as “deadlines for the payment of gas supplies are scheduled for the next few days”.

It was not immediately clear whether the move would fall foul of European Union sanctions, although Eni said it was “not incompatible”.

The company said its decision to open the accounts was “taken in compliance with the current international sanctions framework” and that Italian authorities had been informed.

READ ALSO: Italy will ‘soon’ stop buying gas from Russia, says minister

Vladimir Putin demanded at the end of March that payment be made in rubles or the gas supply to European countries would be cut off, as he hit back at sanctions placed on Russia by EU countries following its invasion of Ukraine.
 
Eni’s CEO Claudio Descalzi said at the time that his company would not comply with the demands, saying “Eni doesn’t have rubles” and “the contracts say fuel payments should be made in euros”.
 
But many European companies and their lawyers have since been looking at ways to meet the demand without breaching sanctions aimed at punishing Russia for the war in Ukraine, reports Bloomberg.
 
EU officials had said opening a ruble account would breach sanctions. But its latest guidelines, to be published this week, are expected to stop short of banning bank accounts in rubles and  therefore allow companies to keep buying Russian gas, Bloomberg reports.
 
 
Like other European countries, Italy says it is working to reduce its heavy reliance on Russian energy imports in the wake of the Ukraine war.
 

But the Italian government has so far resisted calls to boycott Russian oil and gas.

Italy is highly dependent on Russian gas, importing 95 percent of the gas it consumes, of which around 40 percent comes from Russia.

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