WEF: Ukraine president calls for sanctions and reconstruction offers

“History is at a turning point... This is really the moment when it is decided whether brute force will rule the world," Zelensky told the WEF audience in Davos on Monday. Keystone / Laurent Gillieron

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called for “maximum” sanctions against Russia in a speech at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. He also urged “all countries” to come forward with offers for reconstruction in Ukraine.

This content was published on May 23, 2022 - 12:38

In a virtual keynote speech on Monday to the WEF, the Ukraine president said sanctions needed to go further to stop Russia’s aggression, including an oil embargo, all of its banks blocked and cutting off trade with Russia completely.

He said his country had slowed Russian advances and his people’s courage had stirred unseen unity of the democratic world.

“History is at a turning point... This is really the moment when it is decided whether brute force will rule the world," said Zelensky, who received a standing ovation from the WEF participants.

The Ukraine president, speaking via a translator, called Russia “a criminal state, of war criminals” and said he “would not be surprised” if Moscow used chemical or nuclear weapons.

Lugano conference

He also thanked Switzerland for hosting the fifth Ukraine Reform Conference in Lugano on July 4-5. The meeting is being organised jointly with Kyiv and will focus on the reconstruction of Ukraine. 

“I hope that our partner countries and the world's major companies will be able to make their own proposals” at the meeting, said Zelensky.

In his address at WEF, Swiss President Ignazio Cassis said 40 states and 18 international organisations had been invited to Lugano.

“Wars always have their consequences and it would be unforgiveable to wait any longer,” said the foreign minister, who holds this year’s rotating presidency.

The annual WEF meeting in the Swiss resort of Davos is taking place for the first time in over two years due to COVID-19. The gathering brings together over 2,000 leaders and experts from around the world, somewhat smaller than some past meetings.

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