Italian rally calls for country to stop sending weapons to Ukraine

Tens of thousands of Italians marched through Rome on Saturday calling for peace in Ukraine and urging Italy to stop sending weapons to fight the Russian invasion.

NATO founding member Italy has supported Ukraine from the start of the war, including providing it with arms. New far-right Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has said that will not change and the government is expected to send more weapons soon.

But some, including former prime minister Giuseppe Conte, have said Italy should be stepping up negotiations instead.

"The weapons were sent at the beginning on the grounds that this would prevent an escalation," protester Roberto Zanotto told AFP.

"Nine months later and it seems to me that there's been an escalation. Look at the facts: sending weapons does not help stop a war, weapons help fuel a war."

Student Sara Gianpietro said the conflict was being dragged out by arming Ukraine, which "has economic consequences for our country, but for the respect of human rights too".

G7 foreign ministers, including Italy, on Friday vowed to continue supporting Ukraine in the fight against Russia.