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UKRAINE

How Italy is housing Ukrainian refugees in seized mafia properties

The Italian government has begun housing Ukrainian refugees in properties seized from the mafia.

The Italian government has started housing Ukrainian refugees in properties confiscated from organised criminal gangs.
The Italian government has started housing Ukrainian refugees in properties confiscated from organised criminal gangs. (Photo by Laurent EMMANUEL / AFP)

More than 118,000 people have arrived in Italy as refugees from Ukraine since the Russian invasion began in February 2022. 

The Italian government announced that some would be housed in more than 600 properties seized from organised criminal gangs – among them lavish villas, mansions, apartments and hotels. 

READ ALSO: How is Italy responding to the Ukraine refugee crisis?

Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese said the initiative will “guarantee hospitality to refugees leaving a theatre of war”.  

Authorities seized €1.9 billion in assets from Italian crime bosses in 2021 alone.

Seized assets is managed by an organisation known as the National Agency for the Administration of Assets Confiscated from Organised Crime (ANBSC) – which in total has more than 40,000 properties on its books.

About one third of confiscated assets are located in Sicily.

The ANBSC said that further seized properties would be made available to house Ukrainians once they have been deemed habitable. 

The majority of refugees entering Italy from Ukraine are concentrated in four Italian regions: Lombardy, Lazio, Campania and Emilia-Romagna, with most arrivals gravitating towards their respective capitals of Milan, Rome, Naples and Bologna. 

Authorities hope that this scheme will ease the pressure placed on local housing stocks as a result of the war. 

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UKRAINE

Macron, Scholz and Draghi meet Ukrainian president in Kyiv

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi have met the Ukrainian president in Kyiv, after the trio travelled overnight by train from Poland.

Macron, Scholz and Draghi meet Ukrainian president in Kyiv

The three leaders left in the early hours of Thursday, arriving into Kyiv on Thursday morning. After a visit to the heavily-bombed town of Irpin, they met Ukraine’s leader Volodymyr Zelensky.

It is the first time that the leaders of the three European Union countries have visited Kyiv since Russia’s February 24th invasion of Ukraine, and the visit comes as Kyiv is pushing for membership of the EU.

Macron has been paying a two-day visit to Romania and Moldova to discuss the ongoing crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

There had been widespread speculation in France that he would combine the trip with a visit to Zelensky in Ukraine, but this was not confirmed until Thursday morning.

In a joint press conference with Romanian president Klaus Iohannis, Macron reiterated his desire that Ukraine should win the war, but added that eventually negotiations between Ukraine and Russia will be necessary.

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