Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged Italian lawmakers Tuesday to stop their country being a playground for Russia's elite, while warning food shortages sparked by the war risk a fresh migrant crisis.

Italy's MPs gave a standing ovation to Zelensky as he delivered the latest of a series of video speeches to Western parliaments in an effort to drum up support following Russia's invasion of his country on February 24.

"Don't be the place that welcomes these people," Zelensky told lawmakers in Italy, long a top holiday destination for Russia's elite, known to own luxury villas in some of the country's most picturesque destinations, from Tuscany to the island of Sardinia.

"We must freeze them all: freeze their properties, their accounts, their yachts, from Scheherazade to the smallest. We must freeze the assets of all those in Russia who have the power to make decisions," he said.

The ownership of the multi-million-dollar mega yacht Scheherazade, docked on the Tuscan coast, is currently the source of speculation that it belongs to a Russian oligarch, or even perhaps President Vladimir Putin himself.

Speaking after Zelensky, Prime Minister Mario Draghi said Rome had so far seized over 800 million euros ($880 million) worth of assets belonging to EU-sanctioned Russian oligarchs, including a 530-million-euro yacht.

Italy has taken in 60,000 Ukrainians, mostly women and children, who have fled their homeland.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged Italian MPs not to let their country be a playground for Russia's elite
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged Italian MPs not to let their country be a playground for Russia's elite POOL via AFP / REMO CASILLI

Zelensky -- whose speeches to parliaments are carefully targeted at the local audience -- also raised the spectre of people arriving in Italy from countries hit by a food crisis caused by the war.

Historically, Ukraine has been a grain-exporting breadbasket for the world.

It also supplied many aid agencies, with the UN's World Food Programme buying nearly half of its global wheat supplies from it before the war.

"We don't know when we will have the harvest, and if we can export," Zelensky said.

"We can't export corn, oil, wheat, so many products that are absolutely necessary for life.

"And this also affects your neighbours across the sea. Prices are rising, tens of millions of people will need help off your shores," he said.

Italy has been on the front line of migration into Europe for years, with hundreds of thousands of people fleeing conflicts or climate change attempting the perilous Mediterranean crossing in recent years from the coasts of north Africa.

Several of the parties in Draghi's coalition government have long nurtured close ties with the Kremlin, from Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party to Matteo Salvini's far-right League and the once anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S).