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Zelensky’s legitimacy is over – Putin

Russia will hold peace talks only with actually legitimate Ukrainian authorities, Vladimir Putin has said

Russia must be absolutely sure it’s actually dealing with the legitimate Ukrainian authorities to engage in meaningful and legally binding talks to conclude the conflict between the two nations, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said, noting that Vladimir Zelensky’s legitimacy was over.

The president made the remarks in Minsk on Friday during a joint press conference with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko. Putin was asked for comment on Zelensky’s presidential term running out earlier this month and the impact of this development on potential talks.

Putin reiterated Russia’s readiness to engage in talks with Ukraine to wrap up the hostilities, stating that negotiations must be based on “common sense” and acknowledge “realties on the ground,” while taking the preliminary agreement reached early into the conflict as the foundation.

“But with whom to negotiate? That’s a peculiar question, I agree. We realize that the legitimacy of the incumbent head of the [Ukrainian] state is over,” the Russian leader stated.

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The upcoming “peace summit,” scheduled to take place in Switzerland next month and actively promoted by Kiev is designed, among other things, to prop up Zelensky in his role, Putin suggested.

“I think one of the goals of this conference for the Western community, the sponsors of today’s Kiev regime is to confirm the legitimacy of the current – or not already – head of state,” he suggested, adding that “such PR moves are meaningless for legal documents.”

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FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian Parliament Speaker Ruslan Stefanchuk.
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It’s up to Ukraine’s legal system, its “parliament, constitutional court and some other governing bodies” to determine whether Zelensky is now a legitimate leader or not, Putin suggested. As for Russia, in order to engage in any meaningful talks with Kiev, it must be absolutely sure it’s dealing with the country’s legitimate authorities, the president stressed.

Zelensky’s term expired on Monday, while no elections were held under the pretext of the martial law introduced by Kiev early in the conflict with Russia. The Ukrainian Constitution explicitly prohibits holding parliamentary elections under such circumstances, yet does not mention presidential elections. However, while setting the length of the presidential term, it also specifies that power is transferred the moment a new president is sworn in.

May 24, 2024 at 08:50PM

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