The most pressing humanitarian issues for Ukraine today are the exchange of prisoners, the unblocking of Ukrainian ports and the export of grain, as well as the search for and establishment of the location of Ukrainians illegally deported by the aggressor country. This was stated by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during an online conversation at the Ukrainian House in Davos.
“The first is the exchange of people. Today, this is a humanitarian moment and a political decision that depends on the support of many states. You know, several thousand of our people are in captivity after the blockade of Mariupol, Azovstal. Besides, there were people from Donbas. They are in captivity today. These are absolutely brave people, I am immensely grateful to them. They did a great job. Heroic, historical. We must exchange them,” the Head of State stressed.
According to him, Ukraine has involved the UN, Switzerland, Israel and many other countries that are trying to talk to Russia in the exchange process.
However, according to the President, it is necessary not to persuade Russia, but to put pressure on it, demanding the necessary decision.
“In no case can you play with Russia. You should put pressure politically through business closures, oil embargo. Threats in terms of sanctions, business. And through these threats to achieve the possibility of exchange. To activate the exchange of our people for the Russian military,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
The second humanitarian problem, according to the President, is the threat of global food crisis, as Ukrainian ports are blocked by Russia.
“There will be a shortage of food products due to the blockade of all ports in our country. Today, 22 million tons of grain are blocked by the Russian Federation, which completely controls the Black Sea and Azov coasts,” he said.
To prevent food shortages, the world’s political and business elites must take measures to ensure that this grain is unblocked and exported to Europe, Asia and Africa, the President is convinced.
“So that people have something to eat. That’s how some countries will face this question – that there is nothing to eat. And we have to help with that,” he added.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy called the illegal deportation of Ukrainian citizens to the territory of the Russian Federation the third important humanitarian problem for which there is no practical solution yet.
“About 500,000 people were forcibly deported to Russia or the occupied parts of Donbas. The children were taken away by force, separated from their parents. There are many such cases. We appealed to both the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations. Where they have access, they are looking for these people, we are looking for them,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
According to him, it is difficult to establish the location of illegally deported Ukrainians, as their passports, other documents and phones are often confiscated.
“Personally, I can’t find a solution to this problem yet. I would like to draw the attention of the international community to this issue. And I would like to bring people home or at least get information about their whereabouts, about whether they are alive or not,” the President said.