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In Davos, Zelenskyy urges allies to step up push against Russia

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told political leaders at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos that Western arms shipments must come faster than attacks from Russia, urging the world to move faster because “tragedies exceed life; tyranny surpasses democracy.

Zelenskyy, speaking via video link from Kyiv, said the world needed to respond faster to challenges such as global security, climate change, hunger and energywarning that during war, “the time the free world uses to think is used by the terrorist state to kill”.

He said his allies should not hesitate: “Ukraine’s supply of air defense systems must outpace Russia’s extensive missile attacks. Western tank supply must outrun another Russian tank invasion.

Zelenskyy’s speech after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described the world as being in a ‘sorry state’ due to interrelated challenges including climate change and Russia’s war in Ukraine which “pile up like cars in a chain reaction accident”.

Darkness clung to the second day of the elite gathering world leaders and business executives at the Swiss ski resort of Davos after a helicopter crashed into a kindergarten in Ukraine, killing more than a dozen people, including the Ukrainian interior minister.

Zelenskyy stood up and asked for a minute’s silence for the victims. There was no immediate word on the cause of the accident, but he said “every individual, every death is the result of war”.

His wife, First Lady Olena Zelenskaearlier called it “another very sad day”, dabbing at teary eyes, then telling Davos attendees that “we can also change this negative situation for the better”.

The Ukrainian delegation in Davos, including Zelenska, pushed for more aid, including increasingly advanced weaponsinternational allies to fight Russia.

Shortly before Zelenskyy’s speech, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz reiterated that Germany was one of the main suppliers of military equipment to Ukraine when asked why he had not sent of tanks in this war-torn country.

While Germany has provided air defense systems and armored personnel carriers, Scholz – the only leader to attend Davos from the Group of 7 largest economies – faces growing pressure to send battle tanks Leopard 2 to help Ukraine.

“We will continue to support Ukraine – as long as necessary,” Scholz said.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Western backers to Ukraine will discuss ways to provide heavier and more advanced weapons this week..

“The main message will be: more support, more advanced support, heavier weapons and more modern weapons,” Stoltenberg said of a gathering in Germany of top defense officials, including the US Secretary of Defense. Defense Lloyd Austin, who work to coordinate military contributions to Ukraine. .

“This is a fight for our values, this is a fight for democracy – and we just have to prove that democracy wins over tyranny and oppression,” added the NATO chief.

Meanwhile, António Guterres said “the most serious levels of geopolitical division and distrust of generations” are undermining efforts to address global issues including worsening inequality, a cost of living crisis unleashed by soaring inflation. and an energy shortage, the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain disruptions and more.

The UN chief called climate change an “existential challenge” and said a global pledge to limit the Earth’s temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius “almost goes up in smoke”.

Guterres, who has been one of the world’s most outspoken figures on climate change, referred to a recent study which revealed that Exxon Mobil scientists had made remarkably accurate predictions about the effects of climate change as early as the 1970s, even as the company’s position publicly raised doubts about the reality of global warming.

“We learned last week that some fossil fuel producers were fully aware in the 1970s that their commodity was cooking our planet,” he said in his speech. “Some in Big Oil peddled the big lie.”

Critics questioned the impact of the four-day meeting where politicians, CEOs and other leaders discuss the world’s issues – and strike deals on the sidelines – but where concrete action is harder to measure . Environmentalists, for example, criticize carbon-spewing private jets ferrying bigwigs to an event that prioritizes tackling climate change.

Government officials, corporate titans, academics and activists attended dozens of roundtables on Wednesday on topics spanning the metaverse, environmental greenwashing and artificial intelligence.

Ukraine takes center stage as the anniversary of the start of the war approaches. When Zelenskyy was asked about engaging in dialogue with Russia, he said that “they will have to recognize their own mistakes, they will have to recognize Ukrainian status, and they will have to really respect our territorial integrity.”

The NATO chief said providing Ukraine with more long-term equipment will help force Russian President Vladimir Putin to negotiate.

“It is very dangerous to underestimate Russia,” warned Stoltenberg. “Arms are the way to peace”, but they must arrive quickly.

Zelenskyy has pleaded for more advanced weaponry daily, stepping up his demands as Russia introduces new tactics and weapons against Ukraine’s much smaller military. Western countries have responded to appeals, although often with a delay and not in the numbers sought.

Guterres was not optimistic that the conflict being waged less than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) from Davos would end soon.

“I don’t see the end of the war in the immediate future,” he said. The deep historical differences between Russia and Ukraine make it more difficult to find a solution based on international law and which respects territorial integrity, he added.

“At the moment, I don’t think we have a chance to promote or mediate a serious negotiation to achieve peace in the short term,” said António Guterres.

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AP reporters Masha Macpherson and David Keyton in Davos and Kelvin Chan in London contributed.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the World Economic Forum meeting at https://apnews.com/hub/world-economic-forum.

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