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Zelensky ‘seized power’ in Ukraine – Putin

Kiev’s foreign backers will get rid the the politician once he outlives its usefulness, the Russian President believes

Vladimir Zelensky has effectively usurped presidential powers in Ukraine, according to the country’s own constitution and criminal code, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a press conference with the heads of international news agencies on Wednesday.

Zelensky remains in power in Ukraine despite his term in office having officially expired on May 20. The politician had earlier opted to scrap presidential elections, under the pretext of martial law he had imposed due to the ongoing military conflict with Russia.

However, the martial law says nothing about extending presidential powers, Putin told journalists on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).

“It says that [Zelensky’s] powers are transferred to the parliament, and that presidential elections are not held as long as the martial law is in force. But it does not say that presidential powers should be extended… If it does not say so, it means no,” the Russian leader said.

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Ukraine should review Zelensky’s legitimacy – Kremlin

Zelensky’s move to extend his own presidential term indefinitely seems to be in breach of “Article 109 of Ukraine’s Criminal Code, which says that this should be treated as seizure of power,” Putin argued.

The Russian President went on to suggest that Ukraine’s Western backers were keeping Zelensky in power to push through and bear full blame for the upcoming “unpopular decisions,” such as possibly lowering the military draft eligibility age to 18.

“I think that the US administration will force the leadership of Ukraine to make these decisions – to lower the mobilization age to 18 years – and then will get rid of Zelensky… in order to do this, I feel, it will take a year, until the spring, until the beginning of next year at the very least,” Putin noted.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting of the Council of Regions of Uzbekistan and Russia in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Zelensky no longer legitimate leader of Ukraine – Putin

The Ukrainian constitution forbids parliamentary election during a period of emergency and explicitly states that elected MPs should retain their powers until a new parliament can be chosen by the Ukrainian people. However, the constitution does not spell out any rules for canceling presidential elections and extending a president’s term. Putin reasoned last week that since Ukraine’s political system emphasizes the role of the parliament, the highest executive authority should now go to the speaker, as determined by law.

The Russian leader said that it was up to the Ukrainians to sort the issue out, while Ukraine’s speaker, Ruslan Stefanchuk, declared that anyone who questions Zelensky’s legitimacy is an “enemy of Ukraine.”

When asked for clarification on Zelensky’s status in the eyes of the Russian government, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated that he is now “the ringleader of the Kiev regime, whose legitimacy is disputed in Ukraine.” 

June 06, 2024 at 05:18AM

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