Weapons for Ukraine
Guest of honor (in video) of the opening day on Monday, the Ukrainian president called for “maximum” sanctions against Russia and in particular a total trade embargo against his neighbor, oil and gas included.
Three months after the Russian invasion and at a time when the bombardments are intensifying on the Donbass, Ukraine wants above all weapons – and preferably heavy ones.
A claim hammered everywhere in Davos this week by its very large national delegation.
Volodymyr Zelensky tackled the too slow response to his taste from the international community.
“If we had received 100% of our needs in February, the result would have been tens of thousands of lives saved.”
Its Foreign Minister Dmytro Kouleba even accused NATO of doing “strictly nothing” against the invasion.
World War III
It’s a tradition in Davos: during a dinner on the sidelines of the meeting, the American billionaire George Soros delivers his vision of the state of the world and scratches the powerful.
“The invasion (of Ukraine by Russia) may have been the start of World War III and our civilization may not survive it,” he said this year.
In addition to “the two dictators” Russian Vladimir Putin and Chinese Xi Jiping, he put in the hot seat the former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose “special agreements” are, according to him, one of the reasons for the “excessive” dependence of Europe to Russian gas.
Dark clouds over the global economy
“The horizon has darkened” on the global economy and “the year will be tough,” warned Kristalina Georgieva, director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Strong return of inflation, hardening of the positions of central bankers, widening of public debts, slowdown in China… The alarm signals are multiplying for the world economy.
To the point of considering a recession? In developed countries, it’s not on the horizon “for now, but that doesn’t mean it’s not on the cards,” Georgieva said.
At the same time, “we will see recessions in certain countries which have not recovered from the Covid crisis, are very dependent on Russia or the import of food, and already present fragilities”, she warned. .
The return of the food riots?
“We take food from those who are hungry to give it to those who are starving”: for David Beasley, the head of the World Food Program (WFP), “today the conditions are worse” than in 2007- 2008, at the time of the food riots.
“What do you think will happen when you take a nation that normally grows enough food for 400 million people, and push it aside?” he said in reference the breadbasket that is Ukraine for the world.
Achim Steiner, the head of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), speaks of more than 200 million people facing acute hunger around the world. And “when people are no longer able to feed themselves, governments no longer able to provide food, then politics moves quickly to the streets,” he warns.
“We need safe corridors on the Black Sea (for Ukrainian agricultural production). The harvest is next month,” recalled WTO Secretary-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, adding that “the Secretary-General of the UN is involved” in the discussions.
The forgotten climate
The war in Ukraine should not be used as a “pretext” to relax efforts in the area of energy transition, pleaded on Tuesday the American envoy for the climate John Kerry.
“We can deal with the Ukrainian crisis as well as the energy crisis, while dealing with the climate crisis,” he added.
Faced with fears over the supply of Russian hydrocarbons and soaring prices, “there is a risk that in the short term, some will end up burning more coal”, also recognizes Paul Simpson.
The boss of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), a reference organization for measuring the environmental scores of companies and States, hopes, however, ultimately for a conversation on the need to review our energy supply, which could “accelerate the transition” towards renewable.