Zelenskyy urges ‘maximum’ sanctions against Russia in Davos talk | Health, medicine and fitness

By JAMEY KEATEN – Associated Press

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for “maximum” sanctions against Russia during a virtual speech on the first day of the World Economic Forum meeting of business leaders, government officials and other VIPs in Davos, Switzerland.

He said sanctions must go further to stop Russia’s aggression, including an oil embargo, blocking all of its banks and cutting off all trade with Russia.

“This is what sanctions should be: they should be maximum so that Russia and any other potential aggressor who wants to wage a brutal war against its neighbor would clearly know the immediate consequences of their actions,” Zelenskyy said through a translator.

He said this should set a precedent that will work for decades to come. He also called for the complete withdrawal of foreign companies from Russia to avoid supporting the war and said Ukraine needs funding – at least $5 billion a month.

“If we got 100 percent of our needs in one go by February, the result would have saved tens of thousands of lives — this is why Ukraine needs all the weapons we ask for, not just the ones we provided,” Zelenskyy said.

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The group of seven leading economies agreed Friday to provide $19.8 billion in economic aid to Ukraine to prevent tight finances from hampering its ability to defend itself.

Zelenskyy’s speech is a major focus Monday in Davos, the Swiss Alps village turned into a glitzy venue for the four-day confab ostensibly dedicated to making the world a better place. The event will resume in person after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which also postponed this year’s meeting from the usual winter period.

There is much for those in attendance to do against rising food and fuel prices, the Russian war in Ukraine, climate change, inequality and ongoing health crises. But it’s hard to predict whether the lofty discussions will yield substantial announcements that will make progress on the world’s most pressing challenges.

“This war is truly a turning point in history and will change our political and economic landscape in the coming years,” said event founder Klaus Schwab.

Zelenskyy, who received a standing ovation after these comments, reiterated that Russia was blocking critical food supplies, such as wheat and sunflower oil, from leaving its ports and stealing some.

Ukraine, along with Russia, is a major exporter of wheat, barley and sunflower oil, and the disruption of those supplies threatens food insecurity in countries in Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia that depend on those affordable supplies.

The head of the UN’s World Food Program called for Ukraine’s ports to reopen, saying the region’s farmers “grow enough food to feed 400 million people.”

If such supplies stay off the market, the world could face a food availability problem in the next 10 to 12 months, and “that’s going to be hell on earth,” WFP director David Beasley told The Associated Press. .

He warned that “49 million (people) in 43 countries are currently knocking on famine,” including Yemen, Lebanon, Mali, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Congo, Guatemala and El Salvador.

Beasley called on the world’s top mega-billionaires to help prevent hunger: “The world is in serious trouble. This is not rhetoric and BS Step up now because the world needs you.”

In addition to Zelenskyy’s speech, a sizeable Ukrainian government delegation is also present in person, advocating for more Western support in the country’s fight against Russia.

Russian officials have not been invited to Davos this year, with what has been dubbed the “Russia House,” which critics — including Ukrainian tycoon Victor Pinchuk and the country’s foreign ministry — have turned into what they call the “Russian House for called war crimes.

The location contains photos of crimes and atrocities that would perpetuate Russian troops. Some victims will speak out, including Anatoliy Fedoruk, the mayor of Bucha, a town near Kiev where the killings of civilians sparked outrage.

While Ukraine will draw attention on the first day of the meeting, climate and environmental issues will be a constant theme until Thursday’s final, which includes panels on extreme weather, efforts to achieve “net zero” emissions and finding new, cleaner energy sources.

AP reporters Kelvin Chan and Peter Prengaman contributed from Davos.

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