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German foreign minister, European Commission voice support for Zelensky's legitimacy

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk May 21, 2024 7:17 PM 2 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock in Kyiv on May 21. (President Volodymyr Zelensky/X)
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German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and European Commission spokesperson Peter Stano voiced their support for President Volodymyr Zelensky's legitimacy on May 21.

Zelensky's five-year term expired on May 20, but elections have been suspended due to martial law, so he will stay on as president. Critics and Russian propagandists have questioned the legitimacy of his rule, but elections are unlikely in the near future.

"It is impossible to organize elections in such a situation," Stano said at a press conference, cited by Ukrainska Pravda. Under Ukrainian law, elections during martial law are forbidden.

"We (in the EU) also have no doubts that the president of Ukraine is Volodymyr Zelensky," Stano said.

The sentiment was reiterated by Baerbock, who said at a press conference in Kyiv with her counterpart Dmytro Kuleba, "It is clear that Volodymyr Zelensky is the rightful and legitimate president of Ukraine."

Baerbock also criticized Russian officials who have said that Zelensky is an illegitimate president.

"The very people who started this war and made the elections impossible are now bringing the narrative to the world about the alleged illegitimacy of the president because he was not re-elected," she said.

Constitutional lawyers have said that the extension of Zelensky's term, under martial law conditions, is legal.

Baerbock added that the constitutions of many countries, including Germany, forbid holding elections during martial law.

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