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Italian Ambassador to Ukraine stays behind to save lives

On Tuesday, Pier Francesco Zazo, the Italian ambassador to Ukraine, made headlines in Italy’s major newspapers for being one of the only ambassadors to stay in Kyiv and rescue dozens of people from the war.

Newspapers report that Zazo provided shelter and food to dozens, especially children. 

“The Italian ambassador, Zazo, saves 20 minors, of which 6 are newborns,” wrote the largest Italian wire service, ANSA.

Italian newspapers have been reporting the testimonies of citizens who made it back to Italy, many of whom thanked the Italian ambassador for opening up his house in Ukraine in order to shelter people from the violence.

According to testimony from Luciano Luci, a former soccer referee, the Italian ambassador saved 105 people in his three-story residence in Kyiv. Many of them had not been able to cross the border into Poland.

Prime Minister of Italy Mario Draghi personally thanked the Italian ambassador for representing a spirit of service, dedication and courage.

The Italian embassy has been the last of the European Union to move from Kyiv to the city of Lviv and the only one to use buses instead of armored cars for the trip.

Zazo is being recognized for his organization and leadership in times of ultimate chaos and destruction. He has been actively involved in leading the escape from Ukraine, helping people carry their luggage through the ice and snow of Kyiv and providing the food necessary for their trip to safety. Buses are headed to Moldova and Poland, according to Il Corriere della Sera

As many Italian citizens attempt their escape on these buses, they recount ruinous images of a city in flames, lined by pillars of black smoke, and the sounds of the bombs and children screaming. 

Flavia Marroni

American '24

Flavia is a junior at American University majoring in International Relations with a minor in French. She is from Rome, Italy, but is now living in DC, and is fluent in Italian, English, French and Spanish. Flavia is currently a contributing writer for HCAU, focusing on gender equality and women's rights.
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