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ROME: Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Tuesday that “atrocities” carried out in Ukraine must be punished and called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to halt the “massacre of civilians”.

“War crimes must be punished,” Draghi said in a speech in Turin. “President Putin, the Russian authorities and its army will have to be held to account for their actions.”

He called for an independent investigation into deaths in the Ukrainian town of Bucha which came to light on Sunday, triggering international outrage.

Russia has denied responsibility for the Bucha killings.

Putin scraps simplified visa procedures for EU officials

Draghi said Italy was aligned with the European Union in its stance over the hostilities in Ukraine and “supports with conviction” a new package of sanctions presented by the European Commission earlier on Tuesday.

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