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  4. Russia Ukraine War: 'No grounds for any meeting with anyone but Putin', says Zelenskyy in Davos talk

Russia Ukraine War: 'No grounds for any meeting with anyone but Putin', says Zelenskyy in Davos talk

"I cannot accept any kind of meeting with anyone coming from the Russian Federation but the president," Zelenskyy said.

Vani Mehrotra Edited by: Vani Mehrotra @vani_mehrotra New Delhi Updated on: May 24, 2022 8:56 IST
Russia Ukraine war
Image Source : AP

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy displayed on a screen as he addresses the audience from Kyiv on a screen during the World Economic Forum in Davos

Highlights

  • At the forum, Zelenskyy also called for “maximum” sanctions against Russia
  • He said sanctions need to go further to stop Russia’s aggression
  • Zelenskyy reiterated Russia was blocking critical food supplies, such as wheat and sunflower oil

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday said he was willing to meet Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to end the ongoing war. According to media reports, Zelensky said Putin is the only Russian official he may meet to unearth a way to end the conflict. The Ukrainian president's statement came while he was addressing the World Economic Forum in Davos, through a video link.

Holding talks with Russia seems to have been becoming difficult as there have been several pieces of evidence of invading the army's actions against civilians in the areas under its occupation, the Ukrainian president said. 

"The president of the Russian Federation decides it all. If we are talking about ending this war without him personally, that decision cannot be taken," said Zelenskyy.  

"I cannot accept any kind of meeting with anyone coming from the Russian Federation but the president. And only in the case when there is one issue on the (table): stopping the war. There are no other grounds for any other kind of meeting," Zelenskyy said. 

Zelenskyy calls for maximum sanctions against Russia

At the forum, the Ukrainian president also called for “maximum” sanctions against Russia.

He said sanctions need to go further to stop Russia’s aggression, including an oil embargo, blocking all of its banks and cutting off trade with Russia completely.

“This is what sanctions should be: They should be maximum so that Russia and every other potential aggressor that wants to wage a brutal war against its neighbor would clearly know the immediate consequences of their actions,” Zelenskyy said through a translator.

Zelenskyy, who received a standing ovation after his remarks, reiterated that Russia was blocking critical food supplies, such as wheat and sunflower oil, from leaving Ukraine’s ports.

Ukraine, along with Russia, is a major exporter of wheat, barley and sunflower oil, and the interruption of those and other staples is threatening food insecurity in countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia that rely on those affordable supplies.

Meanwhile, Russian officials on Monday reiterated their assertion that they are not to blame for the food crisis, saying the country is not preventing Ukrainian grain shipments by rail.

Russian officials were not invited to Davos this year, with what was dubbed the “Russia House” having been transformed by critics — including Ukrainian tycoon Victor Pinchuk and the country’s Foreign Ministry — into what they call the “Russia War Crimes House.” 

The venue features photos of crimes and cruelties that Russian forces are accused of perpetuating.

(With inputs from AP)

Also Read | Russia Ukraine War: Canada announces ban on entry for Putin, nearly 1000 Russian nationals

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