Ukraine has urged world leaders to step up efforts to remove Vladimir Putin’s troops from their soil as the country’s war with Russia dominated the first full day of the global elite gathering in Davos.
With war clouding prospects for the global economy in 2023, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Yuliia Svyrydenko called on the country’s allies to step up shipments of military equipment so Russia can be defeated more quickly.
When asked what’s next for Ukraine, Svyrydenko said: “What’s next is success. Russia will not achieve its goal and we will definitely win this war.”
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska used a special address to urge participants at the World Economic Forum to use their influence to end Russian aggression.
Zelenska told delegates in Davos that some did not use their influence or sometimes used it in ways “that were even more divisive”.
“What can life be like in a world where tanks are allowed to attack nuclear power plants? What happens to inflation when national borders start falling and the integrity of countries is trampled on?” she asked.
“This war can go further and widen crises if the aggressor does not lose,” added Zelenska.
She brought three letters from her husband, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, for delivery to Alain Berset, President of the Swiss Confederation, to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and for China’s Xi Jinping, which were delivered to Vice Premier, Liu He, who visited Davos.
The note said: “When people come together, they can move mountains,” revealed Zelenska.
Fatih Birol, the executive director of the International Energy Agency, said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sparked an energy crisis of unprecedented proportions. “Our world has never experienced an energy crisis of this depth and complexity,” he said.
“At the same time, there was a big boost in clean energy development. In the past, renewable energy, electric cars, efficiency, heat pumps were clean energy, they were increasing, but the main driver was environmental reasons. The greatest driver [of renewables] Today is energy security – owning is the energy of peace.”
Beata Javorcik, chief economist at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), said the focus had changed since the last meeting in Davos in May.
“In May we talked about reconstruction [of Ukraine]. The focus now is on surviving the winter, which is happening in the here and now.”
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Javorcik said international bodies like the EBRD would focus on emergency budget support and emergency repairs. “We help keep the lights on, the heating on, and the trains running,” she said.
At least 7 million Ukrainians have fled abroad since the war began last February and Javorcik said the EBRD is keen to avoid another wave of refugees by providing assistance in the coming months. “Human capital is just as important as physical capital,” she said.
Von der Leyen said the EU will not let Ukraine down. “We’re here for as long as it takes and stand by our Ukrainian friends,” she said.
North Macedonia’s President Stevo Pendarovski said he feared the Western Balkans were a weak point in Europe’s security architecture. At an event in Davos, Pendarovski said that Putin’s regime had tried for years to provoke people in the region with fake news and propaganda.
He predicted that Russia could try to divert Western attention from Ukraine and that the Western Balkans region was more vulnerable to this risk than the Baltic countries.
“It seems to me that the so-called weak point in the entire pan-European security architecture at the moment, apart from Ukraine of course, in relation to this threat from the Kremlin is the Western Balkans,” Pendarovski said.