Day 692: at Davos, Zelenskyi says this year must be decisive, Putin’s ambitions are doomed to fail

At Davos, Zelenskyi says this year must be decisive, Putin’s ambitions are doomed to fail. The Ukrainian Parliament passes a bill to create a single digital register of draft-eligible men. Polish truckers reach a deal with the government, will suspend their protest.

At Davos, Zelenskyi says this year must be decisive, Putin’s ambitions are doomed to fail

Speaking at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi tried to rally support for Ukraine, urging political and business leaders in the West to keep up pressure on Russia. Decisive action, not weakness will put an end to the war, he said.

He said Putin’s belligerent ambitions were doomed to fail. “Even Putin’s current buddies in Pyongyang and Tehran are simply using his madness while he still has technologies and resources to pay them. No one believes in his future or invests in it,” Zelenskyi said.

He thanked allies for sanctions on Russia but urged them to tighten them to ensure they work. “How can one be satisfied with the sanctions against Russia or export controls if they don’t even block its missile production?” he said. 

“Of course, I am grateful for each package of sanctions. I thank our partners. But bringing peace closer will be a reward for all those who care to ensure that sanctions work one hundred percent,” he added.

“It’s a clear weakness of the West that Russia’s nuclear industry is still not under global sanctions, even though Putin is the only terrorist in the world who took a nuclear power plant hostage. It must be a strong decision this year, when frozen Russian assets, sovereign and oligarchic, will be directed towards defense against the Russian war and for reconstruction of Ukraine.”

“Putin loves money above all. The more billions he and his oligarchs, friends, and accomplices lose, the more likely he will regret starting this war,” Zelenskyi said.

“This year must be decisive. Can freezing the war in Ukraine be its end? I don’t want to settle for the truism that any frozen conflict will eventually reignite.” 

“I remind you that after 2014, there were attempts to freeze the war in Donbas. There were very influential guarantors of that process – then Chancellor of Germany and then Presidents of France. But Putin is a predator who is not satisfied with frozen products,” the Ukrainian President said.

Every reduction of pressure on Russia would add years to the war, Zelenskyi added. “We must make it possible to answer the most important question: the war will end – with a just and stable peace. And I want you to be the part of this peace – starting from right now – to bring the peace closer. And we need you in Ukraine – to build, reconstruct, and restore our lives. Each of you can be even more successful with Ukraine,” he said.

Ukraine’s Parliament passes bill to create single digital register of draft-eligible men

The Ukrainian Parliament passed a bill on Tuesday to create a single digital register of draft-eligible citizens and automate the issuing of certificates of veteran status. The bill passed by a vote of 249.  

The draft law was registered in the Parliament by MPs from different factions on September 18, 2023.

According to the bill, the Ministry of Defense will be able to access the data of Ukrainian residents, ages 17 through 60, from a number of state registries, including the ones of the State Tax Service, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Justice, Interior Ministry, Central Election Commission, State Migration Service, and other agencies.

The Defense Ministry will access personal phone numbers and e-mail addresses of men eligible for the draft. All the data will be stored in individual profiles of the draft-eligible men.

The bill will also simplify the issuing of certificates of veteran status, allowing to submit a digital version of the papers.

The bill would also allow Ukraine to strengthen cyber defenses and the right to place its IT systems in the military cloud storage of NATO member countries.

Polish truckers reach deal with government, will suspend protest

Polish truckers who have blockaded some border crossings with Ukraine since November will suspend their protest until March 1 after signing an agreement with the government, the Polish infrastructure minister said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

Tomasz Borkowski of the Committee to Protect Transporters and Transport Employers told Reuters before the signing ceremony that the protest would be suspended from 1100 GMT on Wednesday.

“We agreed certain conditions, we will give the government time to work as it is a new government,” he said. “The protest will be stopped till March 1,” he added, saying that further talks were ongoing.

Poland’s Ministry of Infrastructure signed a deal with the truckers at a news conference on Tuesday. 

Earlier this month, Polish farmers halted the blockade of the Medyka border crossing point after the government agreed to their demands. They continued to block three others border crossings with Ukraine.