Zelenskyj criticized the Western sanctions as “not enough” and called for more companies to stop doing business with Russia

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Sinead Baker

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine addresses the Bundestag in Berlin, Germany March 17, 2022. AP Photo/Markus Schreiber

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke to German politicians on Thursday.

  • He criticized Western sanctions as “apparently not enough to stop this war”.

  • He said companies in Germany and elsewhere are still working with Russia and giving it tax revenue for the war.


Speaking before the Bundestag on Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told lawmakers that existing sanctions “are not enough”.

He also said that Western companies should stop doing business in Russia that indirectly finances Russia’s war.

Zelenskyy told the Bundestag on Thursday that he was “grateful” for the support of German lawmakers and the German public, but also criticized the country for saying he didn’t think there was enough in response to the Russian invasion.

“Why are overseas countries closer to us than you?” he asked. He called on the German chancellor to take measures “of which his descendants will be proud”.

Zelenskyj said he was turning to Germany “after numerous meetings, negotiations, statements and inquiries”. After steps in support, some of which are overdue.”

He said the sanctions put in place “are obviously not enough to stop this war”.

Zelenskyy also noted “how many connections your companies still have with Russia”.

He later said in his speech: “I am grateful to the German businessmen who put morality and humanity above accounting. About the economy.”

He said that when Ukraine asked countries to sanction Russia before it invaded, they did not do so in time.

“When we called for preventive sanctions, we appealed to Europe, we appealed to many countries. We’ve reached out to you… We’ve seen delays. We felt resistance,” said Zelenskyj.

He said he could say that the countries did not want to take these steps to avoid damaging their own economies, but that they end up supporting “the country that has once again brought brutal war to Europe”.

He said Russia is trying to destroy “everything we live on and live for” in Ukraine and does not distinguish between military and civilian areas.

“They just destroy everything there,” he said.

He also referred to German history, comparing the separation between Ukraine and its allies to the Berlin Wall erected during the Cold War.

“During the three-week war for our lives, for our freedom, we became convinced of what we had previously felt. And what you probably don’t all notice yet. You’re behind the wall again,” he said.

“The world may not have seen it so clearly, but you’re separated from us by a kind of wall. Not a Berlin Wall, but a wall in the middle of Europe between freedom and bondage,” he said.

“And this wall gets higher with every bomb that falls on our country, on Ukraine. With every decision that is not made for the sake of peace.”

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