If Ukraine had gotten all the help — military and financial — back in February 2022, it could have saved tens of thousands of lost lives.
Moreover, if the West had applied the whole package of tough sanctions on the Kremlin back in 2021, Russia might not have braved a full-scale invasion, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in an address to the participants of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.
Peace in case of Ukraine's fall
The President pointed out that this war year, the words "turning point" is not just a figure of speech.
"Now it is being decided whether brute force will dominate the world, and if this is the case, then we can no longer gather in Davos. Brute force does not debate, but kills right away," Zelenskyy stresses.
He adds that this is what Russia is doing right now when he communicates with the WEF participants, and the former "Russian House" in Davos has already become the "House of Russian War Crimes".
Among examples of turning points, the President of Ukraine mentions what Russia has done to itself by becoming a war crimes state.
"Russia leaves ruins instead of flourishing cities. Instead of normal trade — the blocked sea. Instead of tourism — thousands of bombs and missiles. This is what the world will look like soon if it is not stopped," Zelenskyy stresses.
UN and IAEA cannot overcome crises
According to Zelenskyy, history remembers how a few shots can lead to the death of millions of people, as it was in 1914 before World War I, or how one person can personify global evil if he is not resisted, as was the case with Adolf Hitler in Munich in 1938 (when the Munich conspiracy took place and the Czechoslovak Sudetenland were ceded to Germany — ).
The President believes that historical moments were turning and not so turning ones, but they often help to prepare, to heal the wounds from disasters after such a turn.
After World War II, there were a large number of reactions to global aggression, and then such organizations as the UN, OSCE, IAEA, and WTO appeared.
"But are they enough to react to what we are facing today?" Zelenskyy asked.
According to him, there is no need to adapt these organizations or react to aggression — it is necessary to move and move preventively, to create new instruments and new precedents.
The February 24 invasion might not have happened
According to Zelenskyy, Ukraine set a historic precedent of boldness when Kyiv was told that its defense would not last more than a few days.
"We have stopped the Russian army and are gradually pushing it out of our land. But would we have had to do this if we had been listened to last year and a full range of sanctions against Russia had been applied. Sanctions capable of knocking down any dictator. I think the answer is "no," he stresses.
The second precedent mentioned by Zelenskyy was how much emotion and admiration the Ukrainian courage in the fight for freedom aroused, inspiring the whole world to fight: people in different states put pressure on their governments to help Ukrainian people.
But, according to him, all this has happened only now, while Russia went to war with Ukraine back in 2014.
"If the pressure had started back then, would Russia have gone for a full-scale war? I am sure that it would not," the President explains.
Stop all cooperation with Russia
Now the world listens to and believes Ukraine, but there are expectations of what will happen next, Ze notes. The question is in stopping Russia’s brute force, which has challenged everything that the civilized world values.
He urges not to wait until the bloodthirsty dictator Vladimir Putin presses the "red button."
"Do not wait for fatal shots — chemical, biological weapons, God forbid, nuclear one. Don't wait for the Kremlin to believe it won't be opposed. It is necessary that Russia and every aggressor know that the answer will be immediate," the President of Ukraine stresses.
He urges the West to impose a complete embargo on oil, block Russian banks, completely stop cooperation in the IT sector, and close all trade.
"Set a precedent that will work for decades to maintain peace," Zelenskyy urges.
He stresses that the brands of well-known companies should not be associated with war crimes and used by war criminals for their bloody intentions.
"If the aggressor loses everything, this deprives them of the motivation to start wars," Zelenskyy believes.
Ze invites companies that left Russia to Ukraine
The President invited all the companies that had left the Russian market to come to work in Ukraine, where there is not only a market of 40 million, but also a common market with the EU.
In addition, businesses can actively get involved in the process of rebuilding the state after the war in order to quickly rebuild Ukraine.
"This will show the aggressor that the war is not producing the desired results," Zelenskyy says, adding that Ukraine had already suffered $0.5 trillion in losses.
Businesses, for their part, can take patronage over a particular region or industry, and Ukraine will offer a self-written recovery model.
It would be the biggest opportunity for an economic leap since World War II. But in order to compensate people for the losses from the war, Russian assets should be confiscated and transferred to a special fund aimed at rebuilding Ukraine.
The head of state recalls that the platform for Ukraine’s recovery was proposed by Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, and Switzerland will soon hold a conference on the post-war recovery of our state.
Russia's war against Ukraine convinces us that aid is more valuable when it provided faster.
"Weapons, money, humanitarian aid... If we had gotten all this in February, we would have saved tens of thousands of lives," the President is convinced.
According to him, Ukraine now needs to get at least $5 billion monthly, so the U24 fund was created — a fund for Ukraine’s recovery. The Fund provides each donor with a specific proposal on how they can help now.
Analogue of 911 for world threats
It is under the U24 brand that Zelenskyy wants to create an analogue of the 911 to protect other states after the victory:
"There should be an organization that will respond within 24 hours to a military attack, a natural disaster, etc. There must be something that provides a precedent for absolutely timely assistance to those who need it in order to maintain social stability. There should be a United24 that guarantees security in a global sense," he says.
The President quotes George Marshall of 1947, who stated that his plans were directed against hunger, poverty, despair, and chaos, and aimed at the world's economic recovery, political and social conditions, where free institutions can work.
"My proposals are also directed against hunger, poverty, despair, and chaos. War brings exactly that. We all must move quickly, preventively, not be afraid to set new precedents — this is what the world should have learned back in the last century, when it paid a heavy price for reacting, and not moving preventively," the Ukrainian leader adds.
Ukraine of the future: More difficult than Israel
Answering the question of how he sees Ukraine in the future, Zelenskyy says that, as the president of a warring state, he thinks every day about what it will be like today.
"How many people we lost overnight — this is how my morning begins. We have finished the work, and today there are 87 victims, corpses, and killed lives under the rubble in Desna. And life is the future. Without these people, there will be no future for Ukraine," the President explains.
According to him, our state is losing a lot today, but this strengthens it:
"Ukraine pays a lot in the people's war for its independence. And victory is ahead. I am glad that it turned out that the people are so strong, as well as the military and everyone. It will be a strong state."
Because at any moment, having such a neighbor as Russia, the war can be repeated, and Ukraine will have to create such conditions that people and businesses are not afraid to develop on its territory.
As an example of such a strengthened state, the President mentions Israel, but recalls that in terms of the size of the territory, Ukraine is much larger and it is more difficult to close it.
"Our task is to make the most advanced air defense system, the most advanced multisystem of security, a security agreement with other countries that we trust, and it should stop the aggressor even before it comes to our land," Ze stresses.
He adds that Ukraine must be powerful, fashionable, technologically advanced, safe, and ready to defend its land and its people at any moment.
Hunger needs to be stopped beforehand
Commenting on the issue of the global food crisis, Volodymyr Zelenskyy notes that any reaction to mass hunger should be preventive.
At the same time, he proposes to establish an organization of food exporters on the Ukrainian platform, so that humanity would have insurance against hunger.
As for the sale of Ukrainian products here and now, first of all it is necessary to unblock the Black and Azov Seas, the President recalls.
He also calls on other states to take part in monitoring what countries are trying to buy Ukrainian grain stolen by the occupiers and work with their embassies.
"It is needed at the level of diplomats so that other countries help us — we cannot fight this alone."
As for the unblocking of Ukrainian ports, it is necessary to involve as many forces as possible to create a sea corridor for the export of grain and sunflower seeds, then Ukraine will be able to ship about 10 million tons per month through the ports, and this will help overcome hunger.
In addition, neighboring states, such as Poland and the Baltic states, have been able to improve rail transport routes, Zelenskyy says.
"There is no easy solution. If you have Russia as a neighbor, nothing will be simple. But there is a way out. There are military opportunities to unblock our state, our lands, and our waters," he says.
The help of the whole world is needed and it is needed constantly. The threat, Zelenskyy says, is never felt if it is far away, but the speed of aggression could accelerate if Ukraine falls.
"I ask you to act together and quickly," the President urges.
"Ukraine has very little time"
Answering the question what could now be said to each of the thousands of businesses around the world that are also feeling the impact of Russian aggression, Zelenskyy stresses:
"To each? There are thousands of them, I'm not sure that there would be enough time. I have very little time. Ukraine has very little time. Nobody understands how much time Europe and the world have."
At the same time, according to him, the world is united because of this war and aggression, and this unity cannot be lost.
"This is the fist that Russia is afraid of," Zelenskyy sums up.
He advises businessmen, given all the risks of the spread of Russian aggression, to wake up every morning with the question: what have you done for Ukraine today?
- We already reported that martial law in Ukraine had been extended for another 90 days, until August 23.