Zelenskyy Agrees To Hold Elections In Ukraine If US Helps Pay For It

(Photo by Ukrainian Presidency via Getty Images)

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said it’s possible for Ukraine told hold elections in 2024 amid the country’s war with Russia, so long as the United States and Europe help pay the cost, Reuters reported on Sunday evening.

Zelenskyy had previously stated in June that all elections, including presidential and parliamentary elections, would not be held in Ukraine until the war ends, The New Voice Of Ukraine reported. After speaking with a number of U.S. lawmakers in Kyiv last week, Zelenskyy said he’s open to holding elections during wartime, as long as certain laws can be changed and the U.S. and Europe are willing to help bear the costs, according to Reuters.

Zelenskyy said that he had discussed the matter with Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who was one of the lawmakers to visit Kyiv last week, according to Reuters. Graham had expressed during a press briefing that it was necessary for Ukraine to hold “free and fair” elections despite the country’s ongoing war with Russia. (RELATED: Chris Christie Visits Zelenskyy In Ukraine)

“I gave Lindsey a very simple answer very quickly. He was very pleased with it. As long as our legislators are willing to do it,” Zelenskyy said, according to Reuters. Zelenskyy also noted that it normally costs $135 million to host an election during peacetime.

“I don’t know how much is needed in wartime,” Zelenskyy said. “So I told him that if the US and Europe provide financial support…”

He added that Ukraine “will not take money from weapons and give it to elections” as it is “stipulated by the law.”

Zelenskyy told Graham that the two “should send observers to the frontlines so that we have legitimate elections for us and for the whole world,” according to Reuters. He noted it was essential that Ukrainian soldiers fighting against Russia be allowed to participate.

“They are defending this democracy today, and not to give them this opportunity because of war – that is unfair,” Zelenskyy said. “I was against the elections only because of this.”

Zelenskyy had previously stated in June that all elections in Ukraine would have to wait until the war with Russia ended, as the country’s constitution bars elections from being held while martial law is in effect, The New Voice Of Ukraine reported.

Zelenskyy’s recent reversal means that the country would need to change certain laws to accommodate, according to Reuters. While in Kyiv, Graham said during a press briefing that he would push the U.S. to continue sending military aid to Ukraine “so you can win a war we can’t afford to lose.”

“I am also going to tell [Zelenskyy] this: You’ve got to do two things at once. We need an election in Ukraine next year,” Graham said. “I want to see this country have a free and fair election even while it is under assault.”

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