Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told the World Economic forum Tuesday that world leaders must stand up to Russia and President Vladimir Putin. Photo by Radek Pietruszka/EPA-EFE
Jan. 16 (UPI) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told the World Economic Forum Tuesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin is using Ukraine essentially as a testing ground to continue a world dominance through force.
Zelensky, addressing world leaders during a speech at the gathering in Davos, said that Putin has pushed change in the world — whether it’s in Africa, Syria or Ukraine — through war and he will not change. He said the world must change to contain and challenge him.
“Putin embodies war,” Zelenksy told the conference. “He is the very reason why various wars and conflicts persist and the reason why all attempts to restore peace have failed.”
“If anyone thinks this is only about us, this is only about Ukraine, they are fundamentally mistaken.”
Zelensky rejected calls by some asking Ukraine not to escalate the war with Russia but said it is exactly what Moscow has been doing to them and more aggressive actions by his country may have softened the Kremlin’s resolve. He called for stronger and more biting sanctions against Russia.
“Full force of the sanctions could have forced Putin to concessions,” Zelensky said. “Because of ‘don’t escalate,’ time was lost and the lives of many of our most experienced warriors, who have fought since 2014, have been lost.”
Zelensky said what they have learned while Russia is formidable, they are not unbeatable and they continue to put up a courageous fight with the help of Western military hardware.
“The lesson is clear. Everyone thought Russia had missiles that couldn’t be shot down. Patriot [missiles] shot down everything,” Zelensky said.
He said with additional weapons, Ukraine could gains superiority in the Black Sea and defend itself even more against Russian aerial attacks.
Zelensky said on X that he also met with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to push for more Ukrainian aid against Russia.
“As Ukraine moves closer to the practical start of EU accession negotiations, we agreed to take another step forward and start the screening of Ukraine’s legislation,” Zelensky said of his meeting with von der Leyen. “We focused on the need to unblock the decision to provide Ukraine with [$54.4] billion in long-term EU assistance at the February 1st summit.”
In his meeting with Blinken, along with national security adviser Jake Sullivan, Zelensky said he expressed how important U.S. support means for Kyiv. He talked to both about the current battlefield conditions there.
“We count on continued U.S. support, which is essential for our country,” Zelensky said. “We also talked about further defense cooperation between Ukraine and the U.S., with a particular emphasis on air defense and long-range capabilities.”