Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on wednesday condemned hesitancy in Europe over barring Russian energy imports, arguing some leaders were more worried about business losses than about war crimes.
New “rhetoric” about sanctions had emerged, he told the Irish parliament, “but I cannot tolerate any indecisiveness after everything we have gone through in Ukraine and everything that Russian troops have done.
“We still need to convince Europe that Russian oil cannot feed the Russian military machine with new sources of funding,” Zelensky added, calling also for the total exclusion of Russian banks from Western finance.
“The only thing we are lacking is the principled approach of some leaders political leaders, business leaders who still think that war and war crimes are not as horrific as financial losses,” he said, speaking through an interpreter.
The European Union is poised to implement a fifth round of sanctions cutting off Russian coal imports, while NATO and G7 foreign ministers are gathering in Brussels for further steps on coordinated action.
Some EU countries, notably Germany, have been reluctant to hit all Russian energy exports because of the damage it would do to their own economies.
But pressure has been building following reports of mass civilian deaths in Bucha and other places in Ukraine formerly held by Russian troops. The EU must impose oil and gas sanctions on Russia “sooner or later”, European Council chief Charles Michel told MEPs in Strasbourg.
Zelensky’s video address to the Irish parliament was his latest to foreign lawmakers appealing for economic, military and diplomatic support against Russia.
He detailed incessant Russian attacks on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine including in the devastated city of Mariupol, where he said even melt snow was no longer available for people to use as drinking water.
Through its bombardment and siege tactics, Russia was using “hunger as a weapon” against Ukrainians and by extension against countries in North Africa and Asia that relied on imports of cereals from Ukraine.