Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday called on Western politicians to quickly agree on an embargo of Russian oil, complaining that their failure to do so was costing Ukrainians their lives.
In an early morning video address, Zelensky also said he would continue to insist Russian banks be completely blocked from the international finance system.
Russia’s six-week-long invasion of Ukraine has forced over 4 million to flee, killed or injured thousands and left cities and towns destroyed.
Zelensky said Moscow was making so much money from oil exports that it did not need to take peace talks seriously and called on the “democratic world” to shun Russian crude.
“Some politicians are still unable to decide how to limit the flow of petrodollars and oil euros to Russia so as not to put their own economies at risk,” Zelensky said, predicting that an oil embargo would nevertheless be imposed.
“The only question is how many more Ukrainian men, how many more Ukrainian women, the Russian military will have time to kill in order for you, certain politicians — and we know who you are — to find some determination,” he said.
Russia says it is engaged in a “special military operation” designed to demilitarize and “denazify” Ukraine. Ukraine and Western governments reject that as a false pretext for its invasion.
The United States targeted Russian banks and elites with a new round of sanctions on Wednesday. Zelenskiy said the announcement was spectacular but not enough.