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Zelenskiy says vote can be held amid war but aid needed


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says he is keen to hold general elections even amid the ongoing Russian invasion but cautioned that financial support would be needed from the United States or the European Union.

"According to the law, it is forbidden to hold elections (under martial law)," he said in an interview published on Sunday night.

It would be very difficult to stage the elections, he said, noting that one prerequisite would be financial support for the process from the US and the EU.

"I will not hold elections on credit, I will not withdraw funds from defence for the elections either," he added.

For that, parliament would have to "quickly" change the applicable laws, he said.

However, the main problem for legitimate elections is how to ensure that soldiers are able to vote, he said.

Election observers would also have to be sent to the trenches.

Zelenskiy also said it would be necessary to ensure that the millions of Ukrainian refugees who have fled to safety throughout Europe would be able to participate.

"Seven million (refugees) must be able to vote. We need every vote," he added.

Earlier, during a visit to Kyiv, Republican US senator Lindsey Graham demanded that Ukraine hold elections no later than 2024, despite the war.

Ukraine has been fending off the Russian war in Ukraine for more than 18 months.

The extension of martial law, currently until mid-November, makes it impossible to hold parliamentary elections scheduled for October 29 under the constitution.

The presidential elections scheduled for March 31, 2024 face a similar threat.

Zelenskiy could likely count on a clear victory in presidential elections, observers say.

However, in parliamentary elections, he would have to run with a new group project as his party, the Servants of the People, which was founded especially before the 2019 elections, could no longer gain a majority as it has been rocked by a series of scandals.

In parliament, the faction of the president's party already depends on the support of MPs from other parties.