Emotional Appeals From Zelenskyy, Clooney and Others During 4Gamechangers Event in Vienna

More+Events ♦ Published: July 5, 2022; 12:00 ♦ (Vindobona)

During his first live address to Austria Thursday, Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelenskyy made an emotional appeal. Moreover, he called for tougher sanctions against Russia as well as increased support for Ukraine. Selenskyj said during a 4Gamechangers festival circuit that the war is also a "gamechanger" for Europe. An earlier appearance by Hollywood star George Clooney created a stir.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy made an emotional appeal to the audience at the 4GAMECHANGERS festival. / Picture: © www.bundespraesident.at / Peter Lechner and Daniel Trippolt / HBF

Last week, the long-awaited 4GAMECHANGERS Festival took place in the Austrian capital Vienna. The event, which was organised by the TV channels ProSieben, Sat.1 and PULS 4 under the motto "The Power of Cooperation", has risen to become one of the most important international digital conferences in recent years and offers a platform for personalities and digital projects from all industries and communities.

This year, 4GAMECHANGERS had an impressive list of speakers, including top international politicians as well as celebrities and film stars. Among others, the Austrian Federal President addressed the many spectators, but also film star George Clooney could be won as a well-known personality.

Particularly emotional and historic was the appearance of the now well-known Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who was broadcasted live for the first time in Austria in the presence of Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen and Federal Chancellor Karl Nehammer.

In his rousing appeal, the Ukrainian President immediately addressed the looming food crisis and the need to avert a potential famine by all means. Russia's blockade of the Black Sea puts large parts of the world, but especially Africa and Asia, at risk of being taken hostage. But not only the many millions of starving people would be threatened by such a situation.

Massive refugee flows await the European mainland and thus also Austria, should nothing be done to counteract the famine.

The massive cyberattacks and spreading Russian propaganda are also a thorn in Zelenskyy's side and he called on the Western world to free itself from dependence on Russian energy sources: "The Ukrainian gamechanging is that we give you the chance to do what should have been done long ago."

Zelenskyy demanded that Russia, which to this day has no interest in dialogue and only understands "the language of weapons", be held accountable for its crimes.

But the Ukrainian president also found time for thanks during his speech at the 4GAMECHANGERS event. He praised the EU's sympathy and emphasised that Russia's attack had led to a strengthening of the EU's unity, and concluded by expressing his hope that one day he and Ukraine would be part of this European family.

Austria's Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen also found clear words on the war of aggression in Ukraine. "We in Austria know that it is not only Ukraine's freedom that is being defended, but also our freedom, said Federal President Van der Bellen in his replica. It would be negligent not to stand by a country attacked in this way, this would be "failing to help", he said.

Austria could support Ukraine in the medical field, non-military supplies could be delivered and refugees could be taken in, who should be given a "normal life" during the war, Van der Bellen explained. With regard to military issues, the head of state spoke of the fact that Austria itself "hardly has a federal army that is equipped to any significant degree".

The war in Ukraine was therefore also a reason for Austria to think about how to improve its military equipment. In connection with an investment backlog in the Federal Armed Forces as well as with the budget of the Foreign Ministry, he spoke of "two areas of emergency". The number of countries in which Austria is not represented with embassies announces a need to catch up.

The internationally renowned film star George Clooney spoke about the "difficult times" in which humanity currently finds itself and drew attention to his Clooney Foundation, which has set itself the task of exposing human rights violations and bringing the perpetrators to justice. The foundation is currently collecting evidence to be used in court in calmer times to document Russia's war crimes.

The Hollywood star also did not spare criticism of former US President Donald Trump. The four years under the leadership of the controversial politician had been a disaster and had left deep scars in his home country.

He pleaded for more unity and stronger international cooperation to nip disasters like the Russian invasion of Ukraine in the bud.