Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday, January 16, 2023, Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, declared that Russian President, Vladimir Putin must live to regret starting the conflict almost two years ago.
In previous years, Zelenskiy has spoken at Davos by video link and his decision to appear in person this year reflects concern in Kyiv that the west has grown weary of the war.
According to Zelenskyy, the Russian leader had stolen 13 years of peace and would only respond to military defeat.
“One man has stolen at least 13 years of peace, replacing them with pain, pain, pain and crisis that impact the entire world,” he said.
Zelenskyy stated that Putin is trying to normalize what should have ended in the 20th century, citing mass deportations, cities razed to ground, and the feeling that war will never end.
Also, The Ukrainian President said that Putin was spurred on to take military action by warnings to Ukraine not to escalate a conflict that began with the Kremlin’s annexation of the Crimea in 2014.
“This year must be decisive,” he insisted.
“Every ‘do not escalate’ sounded like ‘you will prevail’ to Putin. Because of ‘don’t escalate’, lives were lost,” Zelenskyy said.
Zelenskyy pointed to the risk of the conflict spreading further, asking which European nation today can provide a combat-ready army in comparison with Ukraine’s, holding back Russia.
“It is better to put an end to Putin and his war strategy now,” he asserted..
More so, he challenged the idea that peace was possible if the conflict was to be frozen with Russia still occupying large chunks of eastern Ukraine.
Zelenskyy said that he doubted that “freezing the war in Ukraine” would actually end the conflict, adding that after 2014, there were attempts to freeze the war in Donbas, but that did not sate Russia’s appetite.
“Putin is a predator who is not satisfied by frozen products,” he said.
“We have to defend ourselves. We can beat him on the ground, in the air and at sea – and we have proved it,” he added.
In addition, Zelenskyy stressed the need to tighten economic sanctions on Russia to hobble its arms industry.
He said that Putin must be made to regret the invasion of Ukraine.
“The more money Putin and his allies lose, the more he will regret this war…We need to finally dispell the illusion that global unity is weaker than one man’s hatred.”
“Putin must regret it [the war]. We need him to lose. Global unity is stronger than one man’s hatred.”
How long will the Russian people allow Putin to continue this war?
When asked “how long will the Russian people allow Putin to continue this war?,” Zelenskyy replied that it depends on “how long the Russian people are prepared to be deaf, to not hear or see anything, and pretend everything is all right.”
“That’s a question for the people of the Russian Federation, whether they are capable of changing themselves, not for me,” he said, adding, “I don’t believe Putin is capable of changing, because only humans can do that.”
Zelenskyy Urges Investment To Support Ukrainian Economy
Moreover, The Ukrainian President, urged international partners to strengthen the Ukrainian economy with much-needed investment.
“Only our people and your investments can build a strong economy … We need normal investments from predictable, transparent companies,” Zelenskyy said.
He added, “Strengthen our economy; we will strengthen your security.”
Zelenskyy also told the people present that Ukraine needs their help for the reconstruction effort. “Each of you can be even more succesful with Ukraine,” he noted.
He added that he has held discussions with the President of Switzerland about holding a global peace summit.
“Peace must win, this must be the answer,” he averred.