Send us weapons, stop Russia trade: Zelensky tells Davos summit

May 24, 2022

KYIV: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky used the Davos summit on Monday to appeal for more weapons for his country and “maximum” sanctions against Moscow.Speaking by videolink,...

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KYIV: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky used the Davos summit on Monday to appeal for more weapons for his country and “maximum” sanctions against Moscow.

Speaking by videolink, Zelensky told the World Economic Forum that tens of thousands of lives would have been saved if Kyiv had received “100 per cent of our needs at once back in February” when Russia invaded Ukraine.

“This is why Ukraine needs all the weapons that we ask (for), not just the ones that have been provided,” said Zelensky, flanked by Ukrainian flags and wearing an olive green T-shirt.

Zelensky called for an oil embargo on Russia, punitive measures against all its banks and the shunning of its IT sector, adding that all foreign companies should leave the country.

“There should not be any trade with Russia,” he told the gathering of the world’s political and business elites. “I believe there are still no such sanctions against Russia – and there should be.”

While the United States, Britain and Canada have moved to ban Russian oil and gas, the European Union has been divided over imposing similar measures. EU members such as Germany and Hungary are heavily dependent on energy supplies from Russia. The war in Ukraine is dominating the discussions in Davos, the first WEF meeting in more than two years.

The Covid-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2021 in-person event and the postponement of this year’s confab until May. Meanwhile, a Kyiv court on Monday found a 21-year-old Russian soldier who killed a civilian guilty of war crimes and handed him a life sentence, in the first verdict against Moscow’s forces since their invasion.

"The court has found that (Vadim) Shishimarin is guilty and sentences him to life imprisonment," judge Sergiy Agafonov said. The Russian sergeant admitted in court to killing 62-year-old Oleksandr Shelipov during the first days of the Kremlin’s offensive in north-east Ukraine.

He was also found guilty of premeditated murder. "The murder was committed with direct intent," judge Agafonov said. "Shishimarin violated the laws and customs of war." The soldier told the court last week that he shot Shelipov under pressure from another soldier as they tried to retreat back to Russia in a stolen car on February 28th, the fourth day of Moscow’s invasion.

Shishimarin apologised and asked Shelipov’s widow for forgiveness. The landmark ruling is expected to be followed by others, with Ukraine opening thousands of war crimes cases since Russian President Vladimir Putin sent in his troops.

The youthful serviceman looked on from the glass defence box as the verdict was read out in Ukrainian. An interpreter translated for him into Russian. Shishimarin’s lawyer Viktor Ovsyannikov said he will appeal the verdict.

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