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Volodymyr Zelensky Inaugurated As Ukrainian President, Immediately Dissolved Parliament

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Volodymyr Zelensky Inaugurated As Ukrainian President, Immediately Dissolved Parliament

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On May 20th, newly-elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was inaugurated in the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) and immediately dissolved it.

In his address, he said that one of the first actions that need to be undertaken is a ceasefire in Donbass.

“What price are you ready to pay for the ceasefire? It’s a strange question. What price are you ready to pay for the lives of your loved ones? I can assure you that I’m ready to pay any price to stop the deaths of our heroes. I’m definitely not afraid to make difficult decisions and I’m ready to lose my fame, my ratings, and if need be — without any hesitation, my position to bring peace, as long as we do not give up our territories.”

Meaning that despite his calls for a ceasefire, one is unlikely to happen:

“History is unfair. We are not the ones who have started this war. But we are the ones who have to finish it. And we are ready for dialogue. I believe that the perfect first step in this dialogue will be the return of all Ukrainian prisoners.

Our next challenge is returning the lost territories. In all honesty, this wording does not seem entirely correct to me because it is impossible to return what has always been ours. Both Crimea and Donbas have been our Ukrainian land, but the land where we have lost the most important thing — the people.”

According to him, the people’s minds must be returned to Ukraine. According to him, the Ukrainian fighters on the frontline need to feel respected from their officials.

Any talks with Russia would happen under the condition that prisoners of war were released first.

“There can be no strong army in a place where the authorities do not respect the people who every day sacrifice their life for the country. I will do everything I can to make you feel respect.”

And, finally, because in his words “Ukrainians want actions, not words,” Zelensky asked for the parliament to approve immediately:

  1. The law on removing parliamentary immunity;
  2. The law establishing criminal liability for illegal enrichment;
  3. The long-awaited Electoral Code and open-lists.

He called for the dismissal of the Head of the Security Service of Ukraine, the Prosecutor General of Ukraine and the Minister of Defense of Ukraine. He suggested that the entire Cabinet of Ministers should resign, but that would suffice for now.

“You will have two months to do that. Do it. And take all the medals for it — not a bad move before the snap parliamentary election.”

He concluded his address by dissolving the Eighth Ukrainian Parliament.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groyzman said that he would tender his resignation on May 22nd, immediately after holding a regular government meeting.

A resignation letter of Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak addressed to Zelensky appeared on the minister’s official Facebook page shortly after the speech.

Честь маю!

Posted by Степан Полторак on Monday, May 20, 2019

“Mr. President of Ukraine – Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, I respect your constitutional right to decide on the Minister of Defense of Ukraine and nominate a candidate for endorsement by the Verkhovna Rada. Please consider, in the prescribed manner, the issue of dismissing me from the post of Minister of Defense of Ukraine.”

It followed the resignation of Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin and the head of the National Security Council Oleksandr Turchynov.

Earlier in the day, prior to the swearing in, departing Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has signed a letter of resignation submitted by Ukraine’s envoy to the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) at the Minsk talks on Donbas Yevgenij Marchuk.

The EU, in the face of the Vice-President of the European Commission Maroš Šefčovič said that the bloc would respect the decision, which will be carried out according to the Ukrainian Constituion.

“Indeed, this decision [on dissolution of the parliament] has been announced today. I listened attentively to the inaugural speech of the new President. In this regard, the interest of the European Union lies in the fact that the high-quality democratic behavior that was demonstrated during the presidential race and the elections should be kept so that Ukraine would further demonstrate the democratic behavior of such a high level. We will support any decision that meets the will of the Ukrainian people and is in accordance with the Ukrainian Constitution,” Šefčovič said.

Allied countries sent representatives to Ukraine, with the UK, Lithuania and others congratulated the Ukrainian President.

The US sent Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who had a message to convey from US President Donald Trump.

“America is here to send a clear message. The president of the United States has asked us to come to share with the people of Ukraine that they can count on the United States, count on working with this president and, hopefully, working with this parliament to make the greatest days ahead for the people of Ukraine,” Perry said.

The US recognized that Zelensky’s election was for the people, not for him personally.

“The United States will stand with the people of Ukraine in their quest for independence, in their quest for freedom, and one of the most powerful ways is that they can see that freedom through economic freedom,” Perry said.

On Russia’s side, the Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had no plans of congratulating Zelensky.

Igor Kolomoisky being back to Ukraine would potentially also prove a challenge, according to Yaroslav Yurchyshyn, expert in advocacy and fight with corruption who spoke to Al Jazeera.

“[Kolomoisky’s return] is the main challenge because his presence in the country means our judges are open to help him to return PrivatBank and compensation money for the privatisation. And we will not only lose money but also have problems with the International Monetary Fund,” he said.

“It all depends on Zelensky. If he is a puppet of Kolomoisky, we will lose a lot.”

According to him, Zelensky’s address was quite populist and it is unlikely that he would actually tackle corruption as aggressively as he lets on, especially if Kolomoisky turns out to be pulling his strings.

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  • Raptar Driver

    “We are not the ones who have started this war. But we are the ones who have to finish it.”

    Meet the new boss, not much different than the old one?

    • Nowruz

      No surprise given Zelensky is a jew. Same shit different pile.

  • Gh

    Russia has lost again in Ukraine, zelensky is pro west/us. I feel more and more everyday that he’s a Western backed puppet like poroshcenko who will keep peddling ani Russian sentiment.

    • Promitheas Apollonious

      Russia lost nothing what a brainless thing to say. Did they have their own candidate and we did not notice?

    • Barba_Papa

      Porky was already a US puppet, so Russia lost nothing. In order to lose something you first had to have it. Russia gained nothing, although the idea of a ceasefire being on offer might be a gain. And sure, Zelensky talks about regaining the Crimea, but that’s basic rhetoric. Japan still talks about regaining the Kuril islands, that doesn’t mean that war between Russia and Japan is imminent. Right now I think most Ukrainians are willing for an end to the war, less corruption and a chicken in the pot on every sunday. And if Zelensky can deliver just that he will get easily re-elected. If anything the first part is the easiest to deliver.

      • vaderfater

        Russia lost. Until now there was a rotation between pro-russian and anti-russian presidents. Now again is hard anti-russian president in Kiev.

        • Barba_Papa

          That was before Maidan. That ship sailed long ago. Also, with the flames of nationalism stoked high over the war in the Donbass it would be highly surprising if a pro-Russian candidate would win. I think the one pro-Russian candidate getting 10% was already stretching it.

    • Black but still Racisss.

      Russia lost nothing in this conflict… Well, apart from the sanctions imposed by the United States on certain assets. But overall they have won, strategically that is. They took control of the Crimean Peninsula and well as the Black Sea. Both these points can’t be dismissed in this conflict. Which were the sole reasons of the destabilization of the Ukraine. The Russians oversaw this and calculated quickly. As a result Ukraine has lost half its territory and I doubt the East will ever return to Kiev. Either the conflict will continue / get frozen. Or Donbass separates from the Ukraine and become an autonomous state or they pull off a Crimea-like referendum and join Russia.

  • Normal Person

    Russia lost nothing there were no free elections, they selected what they were given; A puppet, a rich criminal or another rich criminal. They just needed popular support, now they have a new face. However, At this late state of the global conflict, it’s not favorable for Russia, nor the United States of Trump to end the eastern Ukraine war, maybe a ceasefire; but there has to be a conflict. The US, the E.U and some middle east countries are trying to squeeze Russia out of the energy market, the Crimea move was magnificent, if they lose access to the Black Sea, their economy would crumble and followed by an invasion by US and those who want their energy resources. Russia knows that any peace deal would put Crimea on the table, these are just defensive actions triggered by the aggressive actions of US/NATO. It’s was never about Ukraine, that was just the drop that filled the glass.