Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told the World Economic Forum that supplies to the West of tanks and air defenses must come quickly to outpace Russian attacks.
Zelenskiy, who spoke at the meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on January 18, and pleaded for an increase in weapons, said later in his video speech at night the Donbas is now the “epicenter” of the war.
Ukraine is recording a gradual attack and attempted attack by Russian forces there, he said, thanks to “all our fighters who are holding positions.”
Zelenskiy also praised Canada, which has announced a security package for Ukraine, saying the aid is “very necessary and important.”
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Zelenskiy spoke almost exclusively at the World Economic Forum – a special gathering of world leaders and organizations – calling on the world to speed up the delivery of weapons.
“The time that the free world is using to think is used by the terrorist state to kill,” Zelenskiy said. “The supply of tanks to the West must be better than another Russian tank attack.”
Ukraine continues to be forced to continue fighting the Russian invasion, which is now in its 11th month, he said, but added that his allies have repeatedly been “reluctant” to act. to match Russia, even if they make the right call.
Zelenskiy did not mention Germany specifically, but Ukraine has continued to call on Berlin to send German Leopard 2 tanks.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke first at the conference, telling the audience that Berlin would support Ukraine “as long as necessary.” But Scholz, despite criticism not only from Kyiv but also from NATO allies and members of his own alliance, has so far resisted sending the Leopard 2 tank.
Germany has reportedly linked its decision on whether to send Leopard 2 tanks to the United States to send advanced Abrams tanks.
US Undersecretary for Policy Colin Kahl told reporters at the Pentagon on January 18 that the United States is not currently ready to provide tanks.
“I didn’t think we got there,” Kahl said, though he didn’t rule out doing it in the future.
“The Abrams tank is a very complex piece of equipment. It is expensive, it is difficult to train on it, it has a fire engine …. It is not the easiest system to maintain,” the source said. said Kahl.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, speaking earlier at the Davos conference, said Germany would support Ukraine “as long as necessary.” But Scholz, despite criticism not only from Kyiv but also from NATO allies and members of his own alliance, has so far resisted sending the Leopard 2 tank.
“We continue to provide Ukraine with more weapons, in close consultation with our partners,” including artillery, air defense systems, and armored vehicles, Scholz said.
He described the decision to send those weapons “as a profound change in Germany’s foreign and security policy.”
Zelenskiy added that he was happy to hear that former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has changed his mind about Ukraine’s membership in NATO. Kissinger, who spoke almost exclusively at the World Economic Forum on January 17, said that the Russian attack shows that there is no longer any reason to keep Ukraine out of NATO and that membership is for Ukraine. a “reasonable end.”
Kissinger’s revised proposal is “very important to give Russia political leverage” to stop its aggression, Zelenskiy said, adding that Kyiv still believes that NATO membership is the this is the best guarantee for its safety.
Asked if he had any concerns for his own safety in light of a January 18 helicopter crash near Kyiv that killed Ukraine’s interior minister and other government officials, Zelenskiy said he is not worried.
He asked the audience to observe a moment of silence for the 14 people who died, including Minister of the Interior Denys Monastyrskiy and other senior officials of the ministry, as well as one child. His wife, first lady Olena Zelenska, was in the audience. It is in Davos to encourage political and business leaders to use their “influence” to support Ukraine.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko, who is part of the large delegation of Ukraine to the World Economic Forum, said that he had “very good and positive signs” that new weapons for Ukraine would be announced at a meeting of the country West in Germany on January 20 .
Klitschko is at the World Economic Forum as part of a large Ukrainian delegation that is pushing for more financial aid and weapons.
“We will hear in two days,” Klitschko told AFP news agency, referring to a pro-Ukraine rally planned to take place at the Ramstein military base. in Germany.
“I hope it will be the best for Ukraine. Unofficially, I have good and positive signs.”
At the beginning of January 18, the Secretary General of the UN Antonio Guterres gave a sad message to the economic council, saying that the world is in a “deplorable situation” due to many challenges ” connected” including climate change and Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Guterres said the challenges are “piling up like cars in an emergency,” speaking on the second day of the meeting.