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Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Ruslan Stefanchuk speaks at an Journalist's Day on June 6, 2023, in Kyiv, Ukraine. On July 26, he called on lawmakers to support a bill to restore electronic asset declarations for officials.(Photo by Andriy Zhyhaylo/Obozrevatel/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)
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Ruslan Stefanchuk, speaker of Ukraine's parliament, on May 28 dismissed Russian dictator Vladimir Putin's claims about Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's legitimacy.

Earlier in the day, Putin falsely claimed that presidential power should be shifted to the speaker of Ukraine's parliament because Zelensky's term has allegedly ended.

If martial law had not been imposed, the next presidential election would have been held on March 31, 2024, and Zelensky’s term would have ended on May 20. But Ukraine introduced martial law after Russia launched its full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, 2022. The Martial Law Act explicitly bans presidential, parliamentary, and local elections.

According to Ukraine's Constitution, the president fulfills his powers until a newly elected president takes office, Stefanchuk said.

“Therefore, Volodymyr Zelensky remains and will remain Ukraine's president until the end of martial law. All this is in accordance with Ukraine's Constitution and laws,” he wrote on Facebook.

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“It is clear that the Russian narratives proclaimed today are as predictable as they are ridiculous,” Stefanchuk said.

Some of Zelensky's critics, including Russian propagandists, claim that the Constitution does not authorize extending his presidential term under martial law.

They argue that he ceased to be a legitimate president on May 20. However, leading constitutional lawyers dispute this claim, saying that the Constitution allows such an extension.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and European Commission spokesperson Peter Stano voiced their support for Zelensky's legitimacy on May 21.

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

Zelensky’s term would have expired this month, but he’s staying. Russia wants to use it
President Volodymyr Zelensky’s term in office is supposed to end on May 20, 2024 – but it won’t. As Russia’s war delayed the elections and Zelensky’s term is looking indefinite, Ukraine’s President’s Office is preparing to weather the storm of critics questioning the president’s legitimacy. Offici…

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