Zelensky Calls for Max Sanctions against Russia on Davos Day One 


Davos is normally all about finance, trade and energy. Today, the first session was about sanctions

Davos opened today with a session called “economic weaponry: uses and effectiveness of sanctions.” 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke after an opening address by Swiss President Ignazio Cassis, beginning by saying it was a great honor to take part in this year’s Davos, whose theme is history at a turning point. 

Zelensky said that this year, the phrase word “turning point” is more than rhetoric, because this is the moment when it will be decided whether brute force will rule the world, and if it does, that there is no point in gatherings like Davos. 

Zelensky says that his country fought longer than expected, but it would not have needed to endure war with so many casualties if tough sanctions had been imposed earlier, last autumn. He also said that if there had been full unity in 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea, it is possible the invasion of Ukraine this year would have never happened. 

Zelensky called for “maximum sanctions” against Russia, so that Russia and any other country that wants to launch brutal invasions against its neighbor is deterred. He called for sanctions that include a full oil embargo, barring all Russian banks from global systems, to completely abandon the Russian IT sector, and absolutely no trade with Russia. 

He then addressed business leaders at Davos, and urged those who have not yet quit Russia to do so, and said Ukraine would welcome them instead. A full withdrawal of all foreign companies from Russia is necessary so that they are not used for the “bloody interests” of Russia, Zelensky said. 

To close out his remarks, Zelensky quoted George Marshall, referencing the post-World War II rebuilding plan for Europe, who said that he didn’t oppose any country, but opposed “hunger, poverty, despair, chaos.” This is Zelensky’s hope for the future. 

Zelensky received a standing ovation from the audience, which is rare for a Davos event. 

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