Europe’s dependence on Russian oil and gas is funding the rape and murder of Ukrainian children, an MP and member of the country’s delegation to the World Economic Forum in Davos told Sky News.
Ivana Kylmpush-Tsintsadze, an MP and former minister, said Western states and companies need to put an end to “business as usual” with Moscow and called for more heavy weapons supplies, a total embargo on gas and oil, and tougher sanctions.
The MP is in Davos to deliver a message directly to political and business leaders as part of the largest diplomatic delegation to come from Kyiv since the war.
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President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky will speak at a conference call on Monday as the annual meeting of business, policy and civil society leaders meets in person for the first time since the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.
“We are here to deliver a message from our country: the need to unite and stop trying to do business with the Russian Federation as usual to protect everything we believe in, prosperity, democracy, freedom,” she said. “They are important both for business and for governments and people.”
Ms. Kylmpush-Tsintsadze said that the provision of heavy weapons is the West’s greatest “humanitarian” contribution, and that she will call on states, including Germany, to boycott Russian gas and oil.
“I came to Davos via Berlin, it was not an easy day to talk, but I’m glad they agree with at least the oil embargo, which gives me a tiny bit of hope that they are seriously considering a full gas embargo,” she said. .
“We see the consequences of decades of dependence on Russia without even thinking about it.
“If you pay Russian companies for their oil and gas, you give them resources to keep destroying our cities, our villages, killing our children, raping our women, old people, babies, toddlers and destroying our country.”
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Later this week, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, one of 50 national leaders and heads of state among 2,500 delegates gathered in the Alps ahead of the security and economic crisis caused by the Russian invasion, will address the WEF.
No senior British minister is currently planning to attend as Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng have rejected a meeting that will feature European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the prime ministers of the Netherlands, Spain and Greece.
There will be no Russian presence. The oligarchs who used to throw the most luxurious parties here are banned, as are the companies and institutions of the Russian state.
Ukraine will dominate discussions in the Congress Hall and on the sidelines of the conference, and the conflict will increase concerns about global energy prices and inflation, as well as heighten concerns about food security.
Climate change will also be a recurring topic that has been relegated to the agenda since last year’s COP26 due to the financial crisis and war as states looked for short-term fossil fuel alternatives to Russian energy sources.
Alok Sharma, still president of COP26, will address delegates and US climate envoy John Kerry will share the podium with his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua, a significant symbolic act of presence, if nothing more.
Davos promises to be a little less lavish than in previous years, but there will still be some dissent at the gathering praising the virtues of liberal capitalism.
Given the external context of overlapping security, economic and food crises, and an uncertain post-COVID recovery, there may be little time to consider why things went so badly.