Ukraine war takes center stage at Davos
Ukraine’s push for more advanced weapons is a focus at the World Economic Forum in Davos, and in meetings of allied political and military officials.
By CARLY OLSON
Ukraine, battered by months of relentless Russian missile and drone attacks, will make its case for financial help at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this week.
Chief executives and world leaders are gathering for the annual conference, which began Monday with the theme this year of “Cooperation in a Fragmented World,” as the war in Ukraine nears its 12th month and continues about 1,000 miles away.
Vitali Klitschko, Kyiv’s mayor, is in Davos for the event, as well as Olena Zelenska, Ukraine’s first lady, who was to speak Tuesday. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is scheduled to address the summit today, although whether through video link or in person was unclear at press time Tuesday.
Already, Ukrainian leaders have brought their case for continued support to Switzerland. On the sidelines of the summit, Klitschko told the news agency Reuters on Monday that Kyiv’s battered infrastructure, which has been hit consistently by Russian airstrikes, was strained and could collapse “at any second.”
Klitschko’s brother Wladimir, a fellow former heavyweight boxing champion who is also attending the summit, added that Ukraine’s allies should speed up deliveries of air defense systems.
“It is important not to hesitate to give us weapons that we so need, but to deliver them the sooner the better, otherwise we will continue to lose our infrastructure and most importantly our best men,” he said, according to Reuters.
Back in Ukraine, Zelenskyy said that Davos would be a critical time for Ukrainian diplomacy.
“Ukraine will be heard at this globally important platform,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly address Monday. He added that foreign policy talks would be “even more active” this week and that he had planned “important bilateral negotiations.”
Zelenskyy said that a regular meeting of Ukraine’s allies is scheduled to be held at the U.S. military base in Ramstein, Germany, at the end of the week. The coalition of 40 nations, known as the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, was created by the Defense Department after the Russian invasion to address Ukraine’s needs and requests. It was not clear which members would be attending the meeting.
Zelenskyy last addressed an audience at Davos in May when the war was just a few months old and encouraged international businesses that had left Russia to set up shop in Ukraine. The conference, which is usually held in January, was postponed last year over pandemic concerns.
“It is necessary to set a precedent so that your brands will not be associated with war crimes,” he said via a video link. “We offer every company that leaves the Russian market to continue operating in Ukraine.”