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Zelensky again calls for sanctions on Russia

Zelensky again calls for sanctions on Russia
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a statement during the 58th Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Munich, Germany on Saturday. Photo by Ronald Wittek/EPA-EFE

Feb. 19 (UPI) -- President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has again urged for allies of the country to impose sanctions on Russia on Saturday after President Joe Biden said Friday that he was "convinced" Russian President Vladimir Putin would invade Ukraine.

Zelensky, speaking at the Munich Security Conference, again called for the sanctions on the same day he met with French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Schulz and Vice President Kamala Harris about the ongoing threats to the country.

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While U.S. officials have threatened to respond if Russia were to invade Ukraine, they have stopped short of issuing sanctions -- arguing that doing so would lose their "deterrent effect."

"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 part of our country will be occupied," Zelensky said during the conference.

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"Why would we need the sanctions then? What is this about? So when you're asking what can be done, well, lots of different things can be done. We can even provide you with a list."

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Zelensky also criticized the strategy from Western countries in handling the Ukraine crisis, particularly the regular announcements of an impending invasion. The Ukrainian leader said that the strategy was destroying the nation's economy and scaring its people.

During remarks before her meeting with Zelensky on Saturday, Harris assured him that the United States "will impose swift and severe economic sanctions" if Russia "further invades" his country.

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"We have been clear about that," Harris said. "We are also clear that we would prefer that this would be resolved in a diplomatic way, and we have remained open to a diplomatic path to resolution."

Zelensky told Harris that his country has been suffering from a lack of specificity regarding how the U.S. and NATO will support Ukraine.

"Today, we do need specific steps, specific support. We are getting support from you in supporting our defense capacity, our army. This is something we are prepared to discuss and continue this dialogue because this is something that we are very interested in," he said.

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"As regards to the sanction policy, we are grateful to you for your understanding that sanctions may bring about peaceful resolution of this matter."

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