When reporting on Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s speech to the Maltese Parliament yesterday, state broadcaster TVM left out the actual advice the Ukrainian President gave the nation on how to react to the Russian invasion.
Zelenskyy had three main pieces of advice for the nation, starting with a plea to ban Malta-flagged vessels from transporting Russian oil.
Malta has the EU’s largest ship registry and Transport Minister Aaron Farrugia has said the country is seeking a compromise with the EU embargo over its recent proposal to ban the transportation of Russian oil on EU-flagged ships.
Farrugia said the nation must balance its own interest in safeguarding the strategic importance of its shipping industry with its obligations to impose sanctions against Russia.
Zelenskyy also called on Malta to prevent Russians from using “golden passports” and dual citizenship, and clamp down on Russian nationals using the Maltese jurisdiction to “hide”.
Malta has already suspended the citizenship-by-investment scheme for Russian and Belarussian nationals and revoked the Maltese citizenship of a Russian national after he was hit by EU sanctions. However, Zelenskyy clearly believes Malta should go a few steps further.
“Please block their real estate, their yachts, their bank accounts, their IT and blockchain companies and their propaganda channels,” he said. “This isn’t just business for them, they are entities linked to the aggressive Russian state.”
Zelenskyy warned that a failure to act strongly against Russia could result in a global food shortage and a subsequent irregular migration crisis, that will also hit Malta’s shores.
However, TVM toned this down, reporting that the Ukrainian president “asked Malta to properly check what commercial activity could be taking place by Russians, ensure Russians aren’t using Malta to hide, and increase sanctions against Russia so that it stops earning money from exporting oil”.
The government’s Department of Information was even more concise, only reporting how Zelenskyy had praised the resilience of the people of Malta during the Second World War.
Do you think Malta should impose more sanctions against Russia?