President Zelensky: “Russia must be held financially responsible for crimes in Ukraine”

Russia encourages citizens to visit its new “NATO cruelty exhibitions” Image: Ukraine Gov

MARKING his three year anniversary as the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky called for “partner countries to legally recognise that Russia must be held financially responsible for the crimes it’s committed” and for the “prosecution of all Russian war criminals.”

DURING his nightly address to his nation, Mr Zelensky called for Russia to financially compensate his country for all the losses they have inflicted on Ukraine – his plea comes hours after the Russian missile attack at Lozova cultural building injured seven.

“Today my appeal is broader than usual. And this address is dedicated to the subject on which we will work together in the near future. Namely, compensation for all the losses that Russia has inflicted on Ukraine through its aggression,” he said on Friday, May 20.

“Please take a look at how this day has passed. Missile strike of the Russian army at the Kharkiv region. In the town of Lozova, the occupiers destroyed a house of culture.

“Of course, Russia has already done everything possible to ensure that there is no place left for culture on its territory. But what does our Kharkiv region have to do with it? Let them undermine what is left of their houses of culture in Russia if they want to.

“The invaders also hit the Odesa region, Poltava region, and Zhytomyr region. Attempts to attack Donbas continue. They completely ruined Rubizhne, and Volnovakha, just as in Mariupol. They are trying to do the same with Severodonetsk and many other cities.

“We must fight until we clear our land of the occupiers and guarantee Ukraine’s security.”

Zelensky stressed that Putin should be made to pay monetarily for the attack on his country after he revealed on Friday, May 20 that Ukraine was losing $5 billion (€4.7 billion) a month and needs financial support from nations around the world, not just for Ukraine, but for “their own security”.

“We are working to ensure that Russia compensates in one way or another for everything it has destroyed in Ukraine. Every burned house. Every ruined school, ruined hospital. Each blown up house of culture and infrastructure facility. Every destroyed enterprise. Every business shut down, and every hryvnia lost by people, enterprises, communities and the state.

“Russian money as compensation should reach every affected person, family, business.

“Of course, the Russian state will not even recognise that it is an aggressor. But its recognition is not required.”

He added: “We urge our partner countries to legally recognise that Russia must be held financially responsible for the crimes it committed. This is important not only in the context of this war waged by Russia. But also in the context of any other aggressive actions, whether by Russia or any other potential aggressor. Evil must get retribution and know that it will be punished.

“Therefore, we invite the partner countries to sign a multilateral agreement and create a mechanism through which each and everyone who has suffered from Russia’s actions will be able to receive compensation for all losses.”

“Under such an agreement, Russian funds and property under the jurisdiction of partner countries must be seized or frozen, and then confiscated and directed to a specially created fund from which all victims of Russian aggression can receive appropriate compensation.

“That would be fair. And Russia will feel the true weight of every missile, every bomb, every projectile it has fired at us,” he said.

It was recently revealed that 34 Russian oligarchs have tumbled off Forbes magazine’s annual billionaire list, citing the sanctions that are hurting the Russian rich.

The 44-year-old continued: “We invite our partners to become the founders of such a fund, as well as members of a special international commission that will consider lawsuits, i.e. appeals from both individuals and legal entities.

“It is clear that this task will not be easy. But in fact, the debate has begun about the need for such compensation at the cost of Russian assets.

“The world is already talking about it. So we have to do it. And we are starting such a special dialogue with our partners. To make the aggressor feel that the war is capable of inflicting maximum damage not on anyone else, but on the one who went with it to a neighbour.

“The world has seen that existing international organizations and instruments cannot cope with all the challenges. Therefore, it is necessary not only to use the opportunities that already exist, but also to offer new ones. It will be effective,” he said.

Touching upon Russian soldiers being punished for any war crimes in the war-torn country, the actor-turned-politician said: “[We want] the prosecution of all Russian war criminals. In the Ukrainian courts, in the international tribunal and just on the battlefield while the war continues.”

Sgt. Vadim Shishimarin is the first Russian soldier on trial for war crimes in Ukraine after he pleaded guilty to killing 62-year-old unarmed Ukrainian civilian, Alexander Shelipov on February 28.


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Written by

Matthew Roscoe

Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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