Zelensky Calls for 'Maximum' Sanctions on Russia in Davos Address

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for “maximum” sanctions against Russia in his virtual address to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on May 23.

According to a simultaneous translation, Zelensky said sanctions should be severe enough so that “Russia, and every other potential aggressor who wants to wage a brutal war against its neighbor, would clearly know the immediate consequences for their actions.”

Zelensky called for Russian oil embargoes, for all Russian banks to be blocked, an abandonment of the Russian IT sector. “There should not be any trade with Russia,” he said.

The Ukrainian president urged private companies to cease dealings with Russia to avoid their brands being associated with “war crimes,” and “bloody interests.” Credit: World Economic Forum via Storyful

Video Transcript

INTERPRETER: Ladies and gentlemen.


INTERPRETER: Don't expect for the fatal shots being fired. Don't expect for Russia using their special weapons, either chemical, biological, and if more so, nuclear. Do not give the aggressor the impression that the world would not resist enough. Protect the freedom and [INAUDIBLE] peaceful order in the world with the maximum efforts possible.

This is what the sanctions should be. They should be maximum so that Russia and every other potential aggressor who wants to wage a brutal war against its neighbor would clearly know the immediate consequences for their actions. And I believe there is still no such sanctions against Russia, and there should be. There should be Russian oil embargo. All the Russian banks should be blocked, no exceptions.

There should be an abandonment of the Russian IT sector. There should not be any trade with Russia. This should be a precedent for sanctions pressure that will work convincingly for the decades to come and what supports the peace.

It is necessary to set a precedent for the complete withdrawal of all foreign businesses from the Russian market. So that your brands would not be associated with war crimes. So that your offices, bills and goods were not used by the war criminals and their bloody entrance. Values must matter, particularly when a full scale war begins and the global markets are becoming destabilized because someone-- someone there is simply neglecting the values.

In that case, everyone suffers losses. We offer every company that leaves the Russian market to continue operating in Ukraine. You will have access not only to our market of 40 million consumers, but also to the common market of Europe. And your brands, your positions, they would only increase because you would truly support the protection of freedom. Our representatives here in Davos can inform all of you on the details of the prospects that Ukraine opens for your businesses.

Ladies and gentlemen, we offer the world to set a precedent for rebuilding the country after the war, which will show everyone who dreams of destroying the life of a neighbor that the war is not working. I invite you to take part in this rebuilding. The amount of work is enormous. We have more than half a trillion dollars in losses. Tens of thousands of facilities were destroyed. We need to rebuild entire cities and industries.

And we offer a special historically significant model of rebuilding, one each of the partner countries, or partners cities, or even partner companies will have the opportunity to take patronage over a particular region of Ukraine. It could be a city, or community, or even an industry. Britain, Denmark, the European Union, and other leading international entities have already chosen a specific area for patronage in rebuilding.

And thanks to this model of relations, the post-war rebuilding could be fast, could be efficient. It could be of high quality. And this would not only allow to attract the best specialists, architects, engineers, builders, developers, managers, and others, but it will also be the largest in Europe since the World War II.