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28 May, 2024 13:24

Zelensky no longer legitimate leader of Ukraine – Putin

Kiev’s foreign backers are trying to blame all “unpopular decisions” on the country’s current government, the Russian president has said
Zelensky no longer legitimate leader of Ukraine – Putin

The only legitimate authority in Ukraine is now the parliament, Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed after Vladimir Zelensky’s official term as the country’s head of state expired last week.

Speaking at a press conference following a two-day official visit to Uzbekistan, Putin suggested that a deep legal analysis of Zelensky’s status should be carried out and stressed that there is no article in Ukraine’s constitution that says anything about extending the powers of the president.

Zelensky has argued that his mandate as Ukraine’s leader have been extended due to the fact that the country is currently under martial law and that no presidential elections can be held during wartime.

Putin noted that the Ukrainian constitution does not make any mention of the suspension of presidential elections and only explicitly prohibits holding parliamentary polls, meaning that only the term of the Verkhovna Rada, the national legislature, can be extended under such circumstances.

Putin admitted that Ukraine’s mobilization law does specifically state that no presidential elections may be held during wartime, but stressed that nothing is said in this law about extending the president’s term in office.

Citing Article 111 of the Ukrainian Constitution, Putin argued that supreme presidential power should be transferred to the Parliament Speaker, and that the only legitimate authority in the country now belongs to its legislature.

The Russian President went on to suggest that the reason why Ukraine’s “overseas masters” were keeping Zelensky in power was so that he and his government would bear full blame for all the “unpopular decisions” that have been made and have yet to be made, such as the lowering of the military draft eligibility age to 18. 

Some time later, the current “representatives of the executive branch” will simply be tossed out and replaced by a new government that would not bear the responsibility for such decisions, Putin suggested, noting that “if this is the idea, then the logic is clear.”

Previously, Putin reiterated that Russia remains open to engage in “common sense” talks with Ukraine to end the ongoing hostilities, but questioned with whom Moscow would have to negotiate, given that Zelensky’s legitimacy has expired.

The Russian president has dismissed any possible attempts by the West to give credibility to Zelensky’s status during the upcoming “peace summit” in Switzerland as “meaningless” and has stressed that it is now up to Ukraine’s legal system, parliament and constitutional court to decide who is the legitimate leader of the country.