Zelenskiy says it’s for Ukraine to determine his legitimacy, not Putin

By Thomson Reuters Jun 7, 2024 | 1:46 PM

(Reuters) – President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said his legitimacy is recognised and determined by the Ukrainian people, while criticizing that of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“President Zelenskiy’s legitimacy is recognised by the people of Ukraine… Our people are free. Putin’s legitimacy is recognised only by comrade Putin,” he told a press conference in Paris.

Presidential elections in Ukraine were supposed to take place this spring, following Zelenskiy’s five-year term of office.

However, martial law introduced following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 bans any wartime election. The constitution says the president serves until a newly elected one takes office.

Putin claimed several times that Zelenskiy is illegitimate after his five-year term ended this May.

Western leaders have not questioned Zelenskiy’s legitimacy, and sociologists say there is a consensus among Ukrainians that Zelenskiy should stay in office until the war ends.

(Reporting by Yuliia Dysa; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Alistair Bell)