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Zelenskyy: Don't trade with Russia unless you want to be associated with war crimes

Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for maximum sanctions on Russia and the abolition of all business and commerce with Moscow at the World Economic Forum, Davos (Switzerland).

The Ukrainian president demanded that Russia withdraw all foreign companies from Russia, in a rare and targeted speech made via videolink to business, political, and public policy leaders. Otherwise, they could be seen as synonymous with war crimes.

He said, “We need more sanctions.”

“We need an oil embargo and we need banking sanctions. We also need Russia’s IT sector excluded.


“This is the right way to put sanctions. They should be maximal so Russia and any other aggressor who wants to wage a war against its neighbor would know the immediate consequences.

“There should be no business or trade with Russia unless your brands are associated with war crime, and unless your offices are associated with war crime.”

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Ukraine is making financial sanctions more stringent. It believes that the continuation of Gazprom Bank’s energy payments to Moscow is financing Russia’s invasion.

They also demand tighter control of Sberbank, Russia’s largest lender and which is still part of SWIFT’s transaction system.

As part of the largest diplomatic mission to Kyiv since the invasion invading Ukraine, Ukrainian officials and MPs have addressed Davos in person. However, their message is not very comforting for an event that has actively encouraged Russian participation until recently.

Image: Russian War Crimes House in Davos. Pic: AP

Russia House, a venue in the city centre that used to host lavish receptions, was banned this year. It now stands as Russian War Crimes House.

Yevheniia Kravchuk is a member the Ukrainian Parliament and said that businesses still dealing with Moscow had to choose between peace or profits.

She said, “There is no grey area.” “There are black and white.”

“Doing business with Russia is like doing business with an aggressor who kills children.”

Russia must be isolated economically and politically in all international organizations. Otherwise, business can’t continue as usual. It’s impossible.

She stated that Ukraine would seek compensation from Russia following the war, and asked for assistance from the West to rebuild the country after it is over.

We are asking businesses to invest in Ukraine as it will be a fast-growing market once we rebuild the infrastructure. There are huge opportunities for you to win contracts in Ukraine. You also have the opportunity to help others as part of your social responsibility.

“If you are interested in building a museum, we can help you find a museum to rebuild.

“If you would like to help a school in need, tell us where it is located and we will show you how many schools have been destroyed.

Libraries can be helped, and you can bring your medicine. You can do whatever you wish to help.


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