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


Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called for maximum sanctions against Russia and the end of all business and trade with Moscow at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

In a typically targeted speech to business, political and public policy leaders made by videolink, the Ukrainian president called for the complete withdrawal from Russia of foreign companies who otherwise risked seeing their brands become synonymous with war crimes.

“We need more sanctions,” he said.

“We need an oil embargo, we need sanctions on banking, we need Russia’s IT sector to be excluded.

“This is what sanctions should be. They should be maximum, so that Russia and every other potential aggressor that wants to wage a brutal war against its neighbour would clearly know the immediate consequences of their actions.

“There should not be any business or trade with Russia, unless you want your brands to be associated with war crimes, unless you want your offices associated with war crimes.”

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Tightening financial sanctions is a priority for Ukraine, which believes the continued operation of Gazprom Bank to channel energy payments to Moscow is effectively financing Russia’s invasion.

They are also calling for tighter controls on Sberbank, Russia’s largest lender, which remains part of the SWIFT transaction system.

Ukrainian MPs and officials have delivered their message in-person in Davos as part of the largest diplomatic delegation to travel from Kyiv since the invasion, but their message is not entirely comfortable for an event that until recently actively encouraged Russian participation.

This year Russian delegates and companies are banned and Russia House, a city-centre venue that once hosted lavish receptions, has been rebranded Russian War Crimes House, displaying evidence of the war’s atrocities.

Yevheniia Kravchuk, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament, told Sky News businesses still dealing with Moscow faced a choice between profits and peace.

“There is no grey zone,” she said. “There is black and white.

“If you’re doing business with Russia you’re doing business with an aggressor that kills children.

“Russia has to be isolated politically and economically, in any international organisations, because you can’t have business as usual. You just can’t.”

She said Ukraine would seek reparations from Russia after the war and called on Western companies to help rebuild the country when the war is over.

“We are asking business to invest into Ukraine because it will be a very fast growing market when we start rebuilding the infrastructure. You can have huge contracts in Ukraine, and also now you can help as part of your social responsibility.

“If you want to build a museum, we will find you a museum to rebuild.

“If you want to help a school, just tell us the region, we will show you how many schools were ruined in this region.

“You can help libraries, you can bring your medicine, whatever you want to do to help.”

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