Saturday, September 24

Zelensky rebukes the West for not acting sooner to prevent war

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky. / Eph

“If there had been a total unity when Russia invaded Crimea, would it have launched the February invasion?”, he reproached at the Davos Forum

Volódimir Zelenski has jumped from gratitude to reproach in his long-awaited telematic intervention at the Davos Forum this Monday. And although the plot development is not new –directly or succinctly, he has been doing it on that tour of international speeches since practically the outbreak of the conflict– this Monday the tone caught our attention: it distilled anxiety and resignation. And the triumphalism of the past was barely diluted in a sentence with a painful meaning: “Ukraine is losing a lot, every day, but that makes us stronger,” he said.

This Tuesday marks the 90th day of a war that has consolidated Russia as an international pariah; in which the unity of the West translates into war support for Ukraine, billions in aid. And a policy of isolation towards the invader that is affecting the economic recovery. And that has pushed Europe to seek solutions to an energy crisis against the clock while being divided on how it can go further by blocking Russian oil and gas. But Zelensky believes that more can be done. That is not enough. The situation is already dire. “Ukraine has little time left,” he sentenced.


The president is already talking about casualties in his army; of around a hundred dead daily in the offensive that Russia is intensifying in Donbas, he assured the day before. In Davos he also addressed his interlocutors confirming the discovery of 87 bodies in Desna, Chernigov region, victims of a Russian missile attack on May 17. Senseless deaths. And an uncertain future for the country that will face a long and costly reconstruction. Zelensky asked for all possible help.

And it happened to the reproaches. He criticized the international community not only that the measures activated against Russia are insufficient. He placed her before the mirror of history. In broad strokes he accused the West of being hesitant and permissive towards Moscow in the weeks leading up to the onslaught. And in a flashback of greater projection he blamed him for looking the other way when Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014. From that dust, this mud.

“Ukraine would not have had to endure this war, with so many casualties, if harsh sanctions had been imposed last fall.” “If a total unity had existed in 2014, would they have launched the February invasion?” A rhetorical question for which he had a clear ‘no’. And it wasn’t the only one. In his long half hour of a speech that started after eleven in the morning, the Ukrainian president, wearing a campaign shirt, stressed an idea: a turning point has already been reached.

Will brute force rule the world? This is the moment when you decide. If so, there is no point in holding meetings like Davos.” And another question with depth charge. “They should wake up every morning with the feeling ‘What have I done for Ukraine today’.” There were no euphemisms.

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Zelensky was in charge of opening the World Forum that has not been held for the last two years due to the pandemic and through which more than 190 world leaders will pass, as well as great business fortunes and international experts. Ukraine capitalized on the first day of this Davos event with a packed agenda until Thursday in which climate change, food shortages in Africa, the energy crisis or weak economic growth also have a place.

“Redouble efforts” and “maximum support” in reconstruction

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was one of the first leaders to react to Zelensky’s words. He promised to “redouble efforts to provide food and humanitarian aid” to Ukrainians in addition to ensuring that the country “can export to the rest of the world.” The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, thanked the Ukrainian leader for his words through Twitter while she committed the maximum European support to the reconstruction. “Our reconstruction platform shows the EU’s commitment to Ukraine’s future as a free, democratic and prosperous country. kyiv hopes that next month it will be recognized as a candidate country for accession, something that generates divisions within the EU.

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