Zelensky ‘Paying for the Mistakes He Made’ with Decline in Popularity

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko expressed concern about the future of Ukraine’s democracy under President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in a series of interviews published this weekend, citing declining support for the president in the country. He made it clear that he was not surprised.

Klitschko, a former heavyweight boxing champion whose name has been floated as a possible presidential candidate for nearly a decade, lamented in a German newspaper. der spiegel On Friday, it was revealed that he had never spoken to Zelenskiy on the phone, despite being the capital’s mayor during the war. He told the newspaper that he feared that Ukraine would soon be “no different from Russia anymore.”

In a subsequent interview with Swiss media 20 min Klitschko this weekend refused to talk about his future plans to run for president, calling it “stupid” and complained that other politicians in the country were fighting “trench warfare” against each other rather than Russia. Nevertheless, Zelenskyy appears to have criticized him on other issues, denying there was any sign of a full-scale invasion by Russia in early 2022 and leaving many of the capital’s air raid shelters inaccessible. “This is the president’s responsibility,” he said in response to the civilians who complained. I take full responsibility. ”

Mr. Klitschko’s small media tour this weekend is noteworthy considering Mr. Zelenskiy’s refusal to call a presidential election. Ukraine’s last election was held in 2019, with Zelenskiy as its “president.”pro-Russian faction” candidate, defeated incumbent Petro Poroshenko, and elections are scheduled for March.constitution of ukraine Forbidden However, presidential elections are being held during wartime, and President Zelenskiy is unlikely to hold presidential elections because he would spend too much money on military efforts and finding ways to gain national suffrage. He vehemently rejects sex. 6 million It would be almost impossible for a war to create refugees.

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President of Ukraine, via Storyful

But critics have taken note of Zelensky’s comments. Decrease His approval ratings were low at the start of the war and before the war, when Ukrainians expressed dissatisfaction with the president’s poor handling of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic and other peacetime issues.

Klitschko placed the blame for the decline in popularity squarely on Zelenskiy with the following comment: 20 min.

“People are looking at who is effective and who is not. And there were and will be many expectations. Mr. Zelenskyy is paying the price for the mistakes he made,” the mayor said. I said no.

“People are wondering why we weren’t better prepared for this war. Why did Mr. Zelenskiy deny until the very end that it would happen?” Klitschko continued. “Or why the Russians were able to reach Kiev so quickly. There was too much information that did not correspond to reality.”

“Still,” he added, “the president has an important job today, and we must support him until the end of this war. You will pay the price for your success or failure.”

Klitschko declined to discuss the possibility of becoming a presidential candidate. Although he did not rule out that he might run one day, he said it would have been “stupid” to talk about it during the war.

“The only question today is whether Ukraine will continue to exist at all. It is no secret that President Putin does not recognize Ukraine as an independent country. He said that Ukraine is part of the Russian Empire. . We fight for freedom and independence, ”Klitschko declared. “At the same time, trench warfare has already begun among politicians in this country whose survival is at stake. This is simply stupid. Therefore, it would be unwise to talk about my political ambitions now.”

and der spiegelthe Kiev mayor revealed that he has not spoken by phone with Zelensky since Russia’s full-scale invasion began in February 2022.

Considering that Mr. Zelenskiy has deepened his relationships with international celebrities, taking the time to update global figures such as Jimmy Fallon and Greta Thunberg on the war, but not the mayor, communications The lack of is particularly notable.

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Volodymyr Zelensky, via Storyful

Klitschko complained that the war had made it impossible to invest in Kiev’s improvements, as funds were diverted to repaving roads and other infrastructure, a complaint that the funds should have gone to the military. invited. He also claimed that Zelensky had no leadership role in the early stages of the war, leaving mayors to fend for themselves.

“Currently, there is only one independent agency, but it is under tremendous pressure. [it]: local autonomy,” he said. “For the first few months of the war, there was no leadership in the country and, frankly, chaos. And the mayors played an important role as opinion leaders defending their cities and supporting the military.”

Klitschko stood on the streets of the city in February 2024 and vowed to fight Russia on the front lines of the war if necessary.

“There’s no other choice. It has to be. I was going to fight,” he said in an interview at the time.

Klitschko responded this weekend in the affirmative that democracy in Ukraine is under threat, saying, “At some point we will no longer be any different from Russia, where everything is at the whim of one man.” “I’m dependent on it,” he warned.

Zelenskiy has repeatedly opposed holding elections in the near future, despite the date for the next presidential election being set for March 2024. In August, he suggested he was “open to the idea, provided the US and Europe provide financial support.” He refused to “take money away from arms and donate it to elections.”

By November, Mr. Zelenskyy had slammed anyone proposing to hold elections as scheduled as “totally irresponsible.”

“I believe that now is not the right time for elections,” Zelenskiy said in a November address to the nation. “And if we need to put an end to political conflict and continue to work together, the nation has institutions that can put an end to political conflict and give society all the answers it needs.”

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