Ukraine Cautions Against Doubting Zelensky’s Legitimacy After Suspending Elections

As President Volodymyr Zelensky’s five-year term nears its end on May 21 Ukrainian officials have made it clear that there will be no new election until martial law and wartime regulations are lifted citing the ongoing Russian invasion. The government’s stance has raised questions about Zelensky’s legitimacy after his term officially concludes.

In an interview with BBC News Ukraine Minister of Justice Denys Malyuska acknowledged that certain provisions of the Constitution are open to interpretation inviting speculation or conspiracy theories. “There may be considerable debate and criticism, particularly considering that the Constitution’s framers may not have fully anticipated the possibility of Ukraine being embroiled in a large-scale conflict leading to some provisions being inadequately formulated,” Malyuska said.

When asked about appealing to a Constitutional Court for clarification Malyuska deemed it ill-timed warning that such an appeal would imply legitimate questions and doubts warranting resolution by the court. “Given the country’s communication and security challenges openly questioning the president’s legitimacy would be a grave error” he stated.

Meanwhile as Russia’s new cross-border Kharkiv offensive intensifies President Zelensky is urging the nation not to panic. “The advance in the Kharkiv region aims to stretch our forces and undermine their morale and motivation” Zelensky said in his regular evening statement on Sunday. “Defense battles have never been simple and they become even more challenging when an enemy manages to instill fear.”

Reports suggest that Russian forces have been rapidly advancing in the north this weekend seeking to create a 10km deep ‘buffer zone’ inside Ukrainian territory to deter cross-border mortar and drone attacks on the Belgorod region. Scores of Russian civilians have been killed and wounded by such shelling over the last several months prompting Moscow to warn of punishing Ukraine for attacks directly on Russian territory.

As the conflict continues and Zelensky’s term approaches its end the question of his legitimacy and the suspension of elections are likely to remain contentious issues. The Ukrainian government’s stance on prioritizing security concerns over constitutional processes highlights the complex challenges faced by the nation amid the ongoing war.