Europe’s reliance 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, MP and former minister, said Western states and companies must end “business as usual” with Moscow, and called for increased supplies of heavy weapons, a total gas embargo and oil and tougher penalties.
The MP is in Davos to deliver the message directly to political and business leaders as part of the largest diplomatic delegation to travel from Kyiv since the war.
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will address the conference via video link on Monday, as the annual gathering of business, political and civil society leaders meets in person for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.
“We are here to deliver a message from our country; the need to stay united and give up doing business as usual with the Russian Federation in order to protect everything we believe in, prosperity, democracy , to freedom,” she said. “They are important for businesses as well as for governments and citizens.”
Ms Kylmpush-Tsintsadze said the supply of heavy weapons was the greatest “humanitarian” contribution the West could make, and that she would urge states, including Germany, to boycott Russian gas and oil.
“I came to Davos via Berlin, it was not an easy day of conversations, but I’m happy that they at least agreed to an oil embargo, it gives me a little hope that they are considering seriously a full gas embargo,” she said. .
“We see the consequences of decades of dependence on Russia without thinking about it.
“If you pay Russian companies for their oil and gas, you give them resources to continue destroying our cities, our villages, killing our children, raping our women, our elderly, our babies, our toddlers and destroy our country.”
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German Chancellor Olaf Sholz will address the WEF later in the week, one of 50 national leaders and heads of state among 2,500 delegates gathered in the Alps in the shadow of a security and economic crisis triggered by the Russian invasion.
No UK senior ministers currently plan to attend, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng snubbing a meeting to be addressed by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the Prime Ministers of the Netherlands, from Spain and Greece.
There will be no Russian presence. The oligarchs who held the most opulent parties here are banned, as are Russian state businesses and institutions.
Ukraine will dominate discussions in the convention hall and on the sidelines of the conference, with the dispute raising worries about global energy prices and inflation, as well as worries about food security.
Climate change will also be a persistent theme, having been pushed off the agenda since COP26 last year by the financial crisis and war, both of which have seen states seek short-term alternatives to fossil fuels to Russian energy sources.
Alok Sharma, still president of COP26, will address delegates and US climate envoy John Kerry will share a podium with his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua, at least a significant symbolic act of presence.
Davos promises to be a slightly less lavish affair than in previous years, but there will still be few dissenting voices at a rally touting the virtues of liberal capitalism.
Given the external backdrop of intersecting security, economic and food crises and the faltering COVID recovery, there may be little time left to wonder how things got so bad.