Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is demanding that the West impose even stricter sanctions on Russia — particularly ones that directly target Russian nationals.
In an interview with the Washington Post on Monday, the Ukrainian leader said that the West must impose a total ban on all Russian energy imports, as well as a travel ban on all Russians.
Realistically, should Europe, the United States, and its allies impose a total ban on Russian citizens, many ethnic Russians who live all across Europe would be prohibited from seeing their loved ones.
Furthermore, a total ban on Russian energy would effectively cripple Europe’s industrial base, which is highly dependent on Russian energy.
Speaking from his fortified office in Kiev, Zelensky told the publication that “the most important sanctions are to close the borders — because the Russians are taking away someone else’s land.”
He added that Russians should “live in their own world until they change their philosophy.”
“Whichever kind of Russian … make them go to Russia,” he said, adding that the collective punishment of all Russians is the only way to end the war.
“They’ll understand then. They’ll say, ‘This [war] has nothing to do with us. The whole population can’t be held responsible, can it?’ It can. The population picked this government and they’re not fighting it, not arguing with it, not shouting at it,” Zelensky said.
Zelensky stated that punishing Russian citizens is “the only way to influence” Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In his interview with the Post, Zelensky spoke as if he was addressing all of Russia, stating, “You’re telling the whole world that it must live by your rules. Then go and live there.”
Zelensky’s remarks to the Washington Post came within days of the Biden White House announcing that it was sending an additional $1 billion in military supplies and arms to Kiev, alongside $4.5 billion in cash to support Zelensky’s government.