Zelensky in Davos, from protagonist to ‘extra’: the risks for Ukraine

The president at the Forum, the objective is to keep the spotlight on the war with Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “was once the darling of the global elite. Now he tries to avoid being just another spectator at their party“. In the space of a year, Zelensky’s weight on the international scene has changed as ‘Politico’ writes, highlighting that the wait for the Ukrainian leader’s speech at the World Economic Forum, which opened in Davos and which will end on January 19, has waned significantly although the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) claims that Russia is planning a new offensive in Ukraine “in the coming weeks”.

Among the Swiss mountains there are two issues that are now attracting much of the attention: the war between Israel and Hamas and the race for the White House, underlines the European edition of the American newspaper, according to which the war in Ukraine – which is entering its third year – is no longer on the front pages of newspapers every day, while Western financial and military aid to Kiev becomes increasingly uncertain.

The Davos forum offers Zelensky one of the increasingly rare opportunities to reiterate that Ukraine deserves continued support because his fight for democracy will affect the entire free world. It is also an opportunity for Ukrainians to argue to business elites that their country should be the recipient of investments for reconstruction.

Zelensky, who spoke in Davos via video conference in the last two editions, will deliver a speech in person and it is likely that he will meet the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, in the Swiss resort. “Above all, he wants to keep Ukraine in everyone’s minds,” a person familiar with the Zelensky administration’s plans said on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, on the eve of the forum, the future of Ukraine was at the center of a meeting between the Kiev government and representatives of around 80 countries with the aim of strengthening the West’s support for Kiev and promoting ‘ 10-point peace formula developed by the Ukrainian government. According to the head of the Ukrainian presidential office, Andriy Yermak, there was broad agreement on the basic principles of the peace formula.

The likely meeting with Blinken will be in the spotlight as the US focus on Ukraine, and to some extent its resources, have been further strained by the war between Israel and Hamas, ‘Politico points out ‘, highlighting how conflict in the Middle East could have disastrous consequences for global energy supplies and Red Sea trade routes.