At WEF, Zelenskyy Urges ‘Speed and Resolve’ in Ukraine 

The world must act with speed and resolve to fight back Russian aggression, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a livestreamed address at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting 2023, urging world leaders to support his 10-point formula for an end to hostilities with Russia.

“History repeats itself. The world fails to notice or underestimates a threat. Then the world realizes and acts,” Zelenskyy was quoted to have said in a statement yesterday, nearly a year after his country was attacked by Russia.

“The world overcame apartheid, the pandemic, the financial crisis… Now the world is fighting Putin. The world will overcome again.”

He called for a minute’s silence for all the lives lost in the conflict. His address took place hours after a helicopter crash near Kyiv killed Ukraine’s interior minister along with 14 others, including children

 “Every death is a result of the war. There are no accidents at war time, these are all a result of the war,” he said.

 “Three years ago, I spoke at Davos for the first time in person, Zelenskyy continued. “The topic was how to build a cohesive and sustainable world. Today, we’re discussing how to cooperate in a divided, fragmented world. To the call for efficient, urgent action, I add the call for speed… speed of decision-making and reaction of the civilized world.”

 Russia needed just a second to start the war, and the world needed days to impose sanctions, he said, adding that Ukrainians’ spirit and resolve, as well as allies’ military and financial support have made it possible for the country to fight back.

“We are steadfast,” he said, “We are strong and motivated within the country. We didn’t start the war, but we have to end it. We need to have the whole world united around our joint values… Russia intends to get revenge because they’re fighting not just Ukraine but the entire civilized way of life.”

 Asked about Russia’s place in the world, Zelenskyy said Russia has already, “earned a place among terrorists”. “It no longer depends on the leadership now, the leaders are no longer affecting the development of the Russian Federation, everything now depends on Ukraine and the support of the world community.”

Meanwhile, world leaders have said bold and urgent collective action was required not only to restore peace and security in Europe but also for the world.

They said this at the 53rd WEF Annual meeting in Davos.

President of Poland, Andrzej Duda, warned that Russia was likely preparing itself for a new offensive in the next few months.

“We must urgently send additional military support to Ukraine, especially modern tanks and missile systems to stop the Russian offensive,” he said. Europe should listen to the voice of Ukraine – they want to be part of Europe and they want to be part of NATO. “The next few months will be crucial to decide the outcome of the war,” he added.

The importance of acting now was also stressed by Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary-General of NATO.

Russia is planning new offensive attacks and is conscripting more soldiers and restocking ammunition, he said. There is an urgent need for more advanced support including air defence systems. “We must fight for our democratic values – we have to prove that freedom wins over tyranny.”

 US Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines, said fighting has continued along the frontlines but the tempo of the war has materially decreased. “It’s a not a stalemate, but a grinding conflict at this stage.”

 The Canadian government has said it would donate 200 more armoured vehicles, which was part of the additional $500 million in military aid for Ukraine.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Canada, Chrystia Freeland said: “Supplying Ukraine with weapons and money to win the war is in our own self-interest.”

 First Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine, Yuliia Svyrydenko, described how Ukraine’s ability to function despite the war was improving over time.

“In the 329 days of the war so far, we have gained unique experience in how to keep the economy and essential services running,” she said. “No one doubts that Ukraine will win this war, but every day brings more death and damage. Assistance now will significantly speed up Ukraine’s success.”

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