Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelenskyy tells Davos to move faster in response to war

President tells World Economic Forum that every delay plays into Russia's hands

Ukrainian President calls for more arms more quickly at Davos

Ukrainian President calls for more arms more quickly at Davos
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged allies in Davos to make wartime decisions faster because “tragedies are outpacing life”.

In a pointedly short address by video link, Mr Zelenskyy accused the western world of hesitating while Russia escalated the conflict.

“The time the free world uses to think is used by the terrorist state to kill,” he said.

It came on the day that a helicopter crash near Kyiv killed Ukraine's Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi and more than a dozen others, including children and other senior officials.

After asking for a minute's silence from dignitaries in Davos, Mr Zelenskyy said minutes were all Russia needed to launch missiles at Ukraine.

He urged western allies to send tanks before Russia launches a new offensive. It comes two days before a key summit that could unblock the delivery of German-made Leopard tanks.

Speaking before Mr Zelenskyy, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz made no promises beyond his well-established slogan of supporting Ukraine “as long as necessary”.

“We are continuously supplying Ukraine with large quantities of arms, in close consultation with our partners,” Mr Scholz said.

Mr Zelenskyy told the forum that the list of crises overshadowing Davos, such as food prices, inflation and climate change, should be “amended with another one: the time crisis”.

“Tragedies are outpacing life. The tyranny is outpacing the democracy. Russia needed less than once second to start the war. The world needed days to react with the first sanctions,” he said.

“The world was hesitant in 2014 when Russia, without hesitation, occupied Crimea. The world was hesitant in 2022 when Russia, without hesitation, made the war full-scale.”

Russia has launched a barrage of missile and drone attacks in recent weeks that have cut power in Ukrainian cities. Ukraine is asking allies for air defences and top-of-the-range battle tanks.

Mr Zelenskyy said: “The mobilisation of the world must outpace the next military mobilisation of our joint enemy. The supplying of Ukraine with air defence systems must outpace Russia’s next missile attacks. The supplies of western tanks must outpace another invasion of Russian tanks.

“We routinely defend values which some of the allies take for granted as a fact of life. For us, the fact of life is a world in need of resolute and prompt steps.”

It came as Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed the invasion launched last February was an attempt to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine that had been going since 2014.

“Large-scale combat operations involving heavy weapons, artillery, tanks and aircraft haven’t stopped in Donbas since 2014,” Mr Putin said.

“All that we are doing today as part of the special military operation is an attempt to stop this war. This is the meaning of our operation — protecting people who live on those territories.”

Mr Zelenskyy is urging leaders to adopt a 10-point peace plan proposed by Ukraine, which calls for Russia to withdraw its troops.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday called the proposals absurd and said there could be “no talk of negotiations with Zelenskyy”.

Updated: January 18, 2023, 8:46 PM