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20 May, 2024 11:45

West sweating over Zelensky’s crashing popularity – Russian intelligence

Ukrainian president’s approval rating now stands at 17% ahead of the formal expiration of his term, Moscow has claimed
West sweating over Zelensky’s crashing popularity – Russian intelligence

Kiev’s Western backers are seriously concerned by the rapidly decreasing public support for President Vladimir Zelensky, the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) has claimed.

Zelensky’s five-year term in office technically expires on Monday, though he is expected to keep his position. Kiev has refused to hold a new presidential election due to martial law.

The SVR claimed on Monday that opinion polls conducted in Ukraine by the US and its allies for their own internal use show a lack of trust in the incumbent leader and in some of the country’s key institutions.

“The level of support for Vladimir Zelensky has dropped to 17% and keeps decreasing. Over 70% of the public distrusts all Ukrainian media, while some 90% would like to leave the country,” the statement said. “Even among the troops, who are being subjected to constant ideological conditioning, Zelensky’s popularity stands below 20%.”

Western nations have urged the Zelensky government to ramp up propaganda efforts to create fear among Ukrainians that a Russian victory would result in a disaster for them, SVR said. The president, who is allegedly concerned for his life, also launched a purge in the military and security service to eliminate possible threats, the statement continued. Kiev’s recent claim, that a ‘plot’ by senior officials to assassinate Zelensky had been outed, was “obviously fictitious” and stemmed from the crackdown on dissent, it assessed.

Zelensky’s legal claim to his office is in dispute as of Tuesday. The Ukrainian Constitution forbids certain democratic processes under martial law, such as parliamentary elections or referendums on constitutional amendments, but does not spell out the same restriction for presidential elections.

Senior government officials have reasoned that organizing a national ballot under the circumstances would be unsafe for voters and prohibitively costly. Some international media have reported that in a hypothetical election, Zelensky’s popularity would make him the default choice of Ukrainians.

“Many people in Ukraine see no sense in holding elections, if the obvious victor already holds the presidency. Not a single Ukrainian politician today can compare with Zelensky in terms of the level of trust and support,” the Russian-language branch of British state broadcaster BBC declared on Sunday, in a thread on X (formerly Twitter).

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Zelensky’s shaky status would put into question any treaties with Moscow that he may sign in the future.