A Conversation with Dmytro Kuleba, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine

25 May 2022


  • Dmytro Kuleba urges global leaders to “kill Russian exports” and “stop buying from Russia”
  • He says the price for every delayed decision is loss of life and loss of territory
  • World faces multi-year food crisis if the Ukrainian agricultural cycle is not restored
  • For more information on the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2022, visit www.wef.ch/wef22

Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, 25 May 2022 Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba struck a defiant tone in a session at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2022, categorically rejecting the idea that Ukraine should give up territory for President Putin to save face.

He said: “Making concessions failed between 2014 and 2022, ultimately bringing us all the biggest war in Europe since the Second World War.” However, he insisted that this war is not a “copy-paste of any previous wars”, highlighting that every war is special.

When asked about the possibility of a negotiated peace, Kuleba said: “If Russia had preferred dialogue to war, they would have behaved differently.”

He said there is still an urgent need for weapon supplies: “When you are at war you need everything, and as long as the war continues, more needs to be done.” Kuleba urged global leaders to provide more heavy artillery to Ukraine.

He pointed out that the sanctions policy on Russia should be reconsidered. “The Ukrainian economy is suffering more from Russian attacks than the Russian economy is suffering from sanctions.” His emphatic message was: “Stop buying from Russia.

Kuleba rejected claims about corruption in Ukraine. “If we had an incapable state run by oligarchs, we would not have been able to sustain the pressure.” He added that Ukraine is “open to building all necessary mechanisms that will ensure transparency of the use of outside resources allocated for the reconstruction of Ukraine”.

He added that the world’s taxpayers should not pay for Russian aggression, suggesting “we should make Russia pay” through seizure of assets.

Addressing food and commodity shortages, Kuleba said that those who may have believed the situation would only affect Russia and Ukraine are already feeling the pressure of the food crisis. “If we allow President Putin to continue this military madness,” he said, “the crisis will only deepen.”

He continued by saying that “we can’t afford to get complacent with the war”. He reminded global leaders that “the price for every delayed decision is loss of life and loss of territory.” Kuleba said that while the situation is better than a month ago, countries should not drag their feet when making important decisions.

When asked about whether Ukraine will ever join NATO, he said: “We are focused on winning the war.”

“This is the war for our existence and our identity. This is the war between Russia as a state and the people of Ukraine, and it is impossible to win a war against the people.”

About the Annual Meeting 2022

For over 50 years, the World Economic Forum has been the international organization for public-private cooperation. The Annual Meeting is the focal point for leaders to accelerate the partnerships needed to tackle global challenges and shape a more sustainable and inclusive future. Convening under the theme, History at a Turning Point: Government Policies and Business Strategies, the Annual Meeting 2022 and its 450 sessions bring together global leaders from business, government and civil society. Learn more about the programme and view sessions live and on-demand.

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