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Ukraine comes to Davos in first spring gathering of business leaders -Breaking

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© Reuters. People stroll past the Davos Congress Centre, where the World Economic Forum 2022 will be held, Switzerland, May 22-2022. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

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Sabine Siebold

DAVOS (Switzerland) – Russia normally has its “house” at World Economic Forum to showcase business leaders and investors.

Ukrainian artists have transformed the “Russian War Crimes House”, a space located on Davos’ main street, into an exhibit of images that depicts misery as well as devastation.

Russia denied war crimes accusations in the conflict.

Ukraine will be the top topic at the meeting of global business leaders over the next four days. The event kicks off on Monday with Volodymyr Zilenskiy’s video address.

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After a two-year coronavirus pandemic hiatus, the WEF meeting is back on track. Attendees will find themselves surrounded with spring flowers and green slopes as opposed to navigating through icy streets.

The weather in 2022 is very different, however, as Russian academics, executive and politicians are all absent.

Russian state institutions, such as the sovereign wealth fund of Russia, its banks and private corporations, have held some of most glamorous parties over the years, where they served black caviar and vintage champagne.

The top executives even had Russian pop and music stars hired to play for them.

MARKET MELTDOWN

Davos will be discussing topics such as the Ukraine crisis and the recovery from climate change.

The meeting will be addressed by Ursula von der Leyen (President of the European Commission), Olaf Scholz, German Chancellor and Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General.

Discussions on business will likely focus on the dire state of global economic and financial markets.

The International Monetary Fund downgraded its global economic growth forecast after a dramatic rebound following the two-year recession that was triggered by the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic.

Last year saw inflation from hampered supply chains as a major problem in countries like the United States.

It has become more difficult since 2022, when Russia invaded Ukraine and China held COVID-19 lockdowns that have prevented a recovery.

‘DEFINE TOMORROW’

Ukrainian artists hope to convey their fight for a better world to the leaders of the world in Davos.

Images such as the badly burnt man seen in Kharkiv following Russian bombardment and a film containing thousands of photos of civilians killed and houses bombed are displayed to visitors.

Bjorn Geldhof told Reuters TV, “This is a spot where all the influencers, all the decision-makers, of the world, come together,” the artistic head of Pinchuk Arts Centre Kyiv.

“What’s happening in Ukraine will determine tomorrow.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin called the invading Ukraine “special military operations” that were meant to dearm Ukraine and eliminate radical anti-Russian nationalists.

Ukraine and its allies dismissed this as an absurd pretext for their nearly three-month-old war that has claimed thousands of lives, forced millions to flee, and destroyed cities.

Although the WEF meeting will not return to its pre-pandemic level, Zurich airport expects flight numbers to be about half of the previous levels. This is a relief for the hotels and restaurants in the ski resort.

Samuel Rosenast spokeswoman for the local tourism board and said, “It’s another step back towards normality.”

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