International

​​Ukrainian president presses for preemptive sanctions against Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky pressed for preemptive sanctions to be enacted against Russia prior to an invasion, asking global leaders during the  Munich Security Conference on Saturday, “What [are you] waiting for?” 

“You’re telling me that it’s 100 percent that the war will start in a couple of days. Then what [are you] waiting for?” the Ukrainian leader asked, CBS News reported.

“We don’t need your sanctions after the bombardment will happen, and after our country will be fired at or after we will have no borders or after we will have no economy or parts of our country will be occupied. Why would we need those sanctions then?” he continued.

U.S. officials vowed during the Munich Security Conference on Saturday that Russia would face severe consequences if it invades the former Soviet Union nation. 

“Let me be clear, I can say with absolute certainty if Russia further invades Ukraine the United States, together with our allies and partners, will impose significant, and unprecedented economic costs,” Vice President Harris warned in prepared remarks.

“There is a price to pay,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said during a press briefing. “If [Russian President Vladimir Putin] decides to [invade], it won’t be a long time for the Russian people, sadly, to feel the impact of the [sanctions because of] insecure decisions being made by their president.”

But Zelensky signaled on Saturday that statements from the international community were not enough to address Russia’s military buildup, noting that it was not clear what specific consequences Russia would suffer should it invade Ukraine.

“If you can’t even disclose what will happen to whom if the war starts … I doubt it will be triggered after it happens,” the Ukrainian president said, according to CNN.

Zelensky’s remarks come as up to 190,000 Russian troops are estimated to be near the Ukrainian border. President Biden on Friday said he was convinced that Putin had made up his mind to invade, saying he believed that troops would be targeting the capital of Kyiv.

Tags Joe Biden Munich Security Conference Nancy Pelosi Russia Ukraine Vladimir Putin Vladimir Putin Volodymyr Zelensky

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