More weapons and “maximum” sanctions: three months after the invasion of his country by Russia, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who was speaking by videoconference, called on Monday in Davos for faster international aid.
“The sanctions (…) should be maximum, so that Russia and any other potential aggressor who wants to wage a brutal war against its neighbor clearly know the immediate consequences of their actions,” he said to loud applause. on the opening day of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Switzerland.
At a time when kyiv says it is facing an “increasingly difficult” situation in the Donbass (east), under intense Russian bombardment, Zelensky also called for more weapons for his country, regretting that the support of the community international is not fast enough.
If we had received 100% of our needs in February, the result would have been tens of thousands of lives saved. That is why Ukraine needs all the weapons we ask for, not just the ones that have been supplied.
Weapons “like those of NATO”
“We need weapons more than anything else,” Anastasia Radina, a Ukrainian parliamentarian who came to Davos, had already told the press on Sunday evening.
Ukraine needs weapons “like those of NATO”, including tanks, air defense systems, fighter planes, she detailed, considering that the military aid received so far, ” it is still not enough”.
“After three months of war, and tens of thousands of lives lost, we are still discussing whether we need fighter jets. Frankly, it’s scandalous, ”she lamented.
“No trade with Russia”
The Ukrainian government is also calling for tougher sanctions against Russia, which it would like to completely isolate from international trade. “There should be no trade with Russia,” said Zelensky, calling among other things for “an embargo on Russian oil” and measures against “all Russian banks, without exception”.
“We understand that Europe is trying to estimate the cost this will have for its economy. But on the other side, there is Ukraine, there is a real war,” insisted Ukrainian Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko, who came to Davos in person. “Russia wants to destroy Ukraine (…) and threatens the world with famine. We definitely don’t have time for analysis. We need to cut Russia off from the civilized world, completely. »
“Everyone is affected”
Ukraine takes center stage this week in Davos, where the meeting of global political and economic elites organized by the WEF returns after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
WEF founder Klaus Schwab on Monday praised the Ukrainian president’s “brave leadership” and welcomed a “particularly strong delegation of Ukrainians”, but this year banned the Russians, who usually make up a large contingent of participants . Where a “Russian house” stood in other years, the Ukrainians have been exposing their “war crimes” since Monday. They thus hope to better convince the international community to step up its support.
“Everyone is affected by what is happening in your country,” Klaus Schwab also told the Ukrainian president. Ukraine is notably a major world supplier of cereals and oilseeds, which it can no longer export today via its ports, blocked by the Russian army. The situation is fueling soaring food inflation globally and creating fears for the supply of many countries, especially in Africa.
Qatar as a mediator?
Volodymyr Zelensky said he spoke to the European Union, the United Kingdom, Turkey and UN officials to try to establish a “corridor that would allow us to export our wheat, our sunflower, and ‘other grains’.
The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, for his part offered his services as a potential mediator. “We are in contact with all the parties concerned by the Ukrainian crisis, and I am ready to contribute to all international and regional efforts to find an immediate and peaceful solution to the conflict,” he said during a speech. in Davos.