European countries that continue to buy Russian oil, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, are “making their money in other people’s blood.”
President Zelensky singled out Germany and Hungary in an interview with the BBC, accusing them of obstructing efforts to impose an embargo on energy shipments, from which Russia stands to profit up to £250 billion ($326 billion) this year.
Ukraine’s government has grown increasingly frustrated with Berlin, which has approved certain sanctions on Russia but has so far rejected calls for harder action on oil sales.
Mr Zelensky told the BBC from his situation room in Kyiv on Thursday that “some of our friends and partners realise that it is a new period today, that it is no longer a matter of business and money.” “It’s a matter of life and death.”
The president also called for more armaments to be sent to Ukraine, claiming that supplies were not arriving quickly enough to stave against Russia’s attack.
“The United States, the United Kingdom, and several European nations are all attempting and succeeding in assisting,” he stated. “However, we still require it sooner, sooner, and faster. The keyword here is “now.””
In recent weeks, Russian soldiers have pulled back from Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, as well as other central and northern sections of the nation, indicating that they have abandoned their plan to take over the entire country by force.
However, as Russian President Vladimir Putin refocuses his military operations towards the east and south of the nation in an effort to grab additional land, there are worries of a brutal and lengthy struggle.
Weeks of Russian artillery shelling have already wreaked havoc on the southern port city of Mariupol, a crucial target for President Putin.
“We also have information that many of the tens of thousands of people who are dead have vanished,” he stated. “We know that their documents were altered, that they were given Russian passports, and that they were sent far into Russia – some to camps, some to different locations. Nobody knows what’s going on with those folks. Nobody knows how many people have died.”
The crimes allegedly perpetrated by Russian soldiers in Mariupol and the Kyiv neighborhoods of Bucha and Borodyanka, according to Mr Zelensky, have restricted the possibilities of peace negotiations with the Russians even more.
Hundreds of bodies have been discovered in Bucha since it was retaken by Ukrainian troops a week ago, including citizens shot in the head with their wrists tied behind their backs, as well as widespread claims of sexual abuse.
President Zelensky stated, “Bucha is in the process of shutting [the possibility of peace negotiations].” “It has nothing to do with me; it has everything to do with Russia. They won’t have many opportunities to talk with us in the future.”
When he visited Bucha last week, he claimed he “felt the full range of emotions,” but finished the day with “nothing but contempt for the Russian military.” He called President Vladimir Putin and the rest of the Russian army “war criminals” from “top to bottom.”
Mr Zelensky defended his leadership in the months leading up to the Russian invasion, when his administration encouraged Ukrainians to remain calm.
He claimed the administration has been working quietly behind the scenes to get agreements on weaponry and supplies, as well as preventing panic that may lead to a bank run and destabilize Ukraine’s economy.
“That’s what Russia – and not just Russia – wanted,” he continued, “but we didn’t let it happen.” “However, we were not prepared for the full-scale invasion when it occurred.”
Following its takeover of Crimea in 2014, Russia is now attempting to carve out additional territory in the east and south of Ukraine.
“The most challenging position” for Ukraine’s military forces, President Zelensky stated, “yet this is where our most strong troops are focused.”
He stated, “They can destroy us, but we will respond; they can kill, but they will also perish.” “I’m not sure why they came – I’m not sure why they arrived.”