The Latest: UN rejects Russian attempt to meet on Ukraine
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — The latest on Ukrainian politics (all times local):
The U.N. Security Council has rejected a Russian attempt to hold a meeting on a new Ukrainian language law, with opponents saying Moscow wanted to upstage the inauguration of Ukraine’s new president.
Russia got just five of the required nine “yes” votes in the 15-member council to hold the meeting Monday. France, Germany, U.S., U.K., Belgium and Poland voted against. Four countries abstained.
Opponents say they asked to postpone the meeting until after Monday’s inauguration of Volodymyr Zelenskiy but Russia refused.
Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia sharply criticized the language law that requires the use of Ukrainian in the government and media. Russian is also widely spoken in Ukraine.
Ukrainian Ambassador Volodymyr Yelchenko said “this is not the best way to start contacts between Russia and Ukraine.”
A party that was part of a ruling coalition in Ukraine has criticized the newly sworn president’s decision to disband parliament and call snap elections.
Ukrainian television star Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he would disband the legislature immediately after being sworn in as president Monday, castigating the current lawmakers as people focused on self-enrichment.
The People’s Front party that was part of the ruling coalition and withdrew from it last week in a maneuver intended to make it more difficult for Zelenskiy to disband parliament, criticized Zelenskiy’s move as unlawful but said it was ready for early elections.
It charged that Zelenskiy hopes to ride the wave of his electoral success to control parliament.
Once Zelenskiy signs a decree disbanding parliament, a snap election will be held within two months.
Ukraine’s prime minister says he will resign in a largely symbolic move that comes hours after the newly-sworn President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s decision to disband the parliament and call snap elections.
Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said he would resign Wednesday, inviting Zelenskiy to take full responsibility for the country.
His resignation needs to be approved by parliament. If it accepts Groysman’s resignation, he will still serve as acting prime minister until lawmakers name a new Cabinet after the elections.
Zelenskiy, who won 73% of the vote last month, needs a quick vote to replace the old legislature dominated by his predecessor’s supporters. His political party has been leading the field by a broad margin.
Once Zelenskiy issues a decree formally disbanding the parliament, the snap election will be held within two months.
The Kremlin has voiced hope that the newly sworn Ukrainian president will help normalize ties with Russia.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russian President Vladimir Putin doesn’t plan to send congratulations to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy following his official swearing-in earlier.
Peskov said Putin would only congratulate Zelenskiy on the “first successes” in settling the conflict in eastern Ukraine and normalizing relations with Russia.
Relations between the two countries have been strained ever since Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea in 2014 and the subsequent separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine.
Asked if Russia could meet Zelenskiy’s demand to release Ukrainian prisoners, Peskov told reporters that Moscow is willing to continue talks on the issue.
Ukrainian television star Volodymyr Zelenskiy has been sworn in as president and immediately disbanded the Ukrainian parliament.
Disbanding the Supreme Rada was one of his campaign promises, for Zelenskiy had branded the body as a group of people only interested in self-enrichment.
Before he made the announcement, Zelenskiy asked the parliament to adopt a bill against illegal enrichment and support his motion to fire the country’s defense minister, the head of the Ukrainian Security Service and the Prosecutor General. All of them are allies of former President Petro Poroshenko, who lost the presidential election in a landslide to the comedian who had no previous political experience.
In a feisty speech after his inauguration, Zelenskiy told the Rada that his main goal for the presidency is to bring peace to eastern Ukraine, where government troops have been fighting Russia-backed separatists for five years.
Ukrainian television star Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Monday disbanded the parliament after he was sworn in as new president.
Disbanding the Supreme Rada was one of the campaign promises of Zelenskiy who branded it as a group of people only interested in self-enrichment.
Before he made the announcement, Zelenskiy asked the parliament to adopt a bill against illegal enrichment and support his motion to fire the country’s defense minister, the head of the Ukrainian Security Service and the Prosecutor General. All of them are allies of Petro Poroshenko who lost the election to the comedian with no previous political experience.
In a feisty speech after his inauguration, Zelenskiy told the Rada that his main goal for the presidency is to bring peace to eastern Ukraine where government troops have been fighting Russia-backed separatists for five years.
“I’m ready to do everything so that our heroes don’t die there,” he said. “I’m ready to lose my popularly and, if necessary, I’m ready to lose my post so that we have peace.”
Zelenskiy ditched the idea of a traditional motorcade and walked to the parliament through a park packed with people. Flanked by four bodyguards, he was giving high-fives to some of the spectators and even stopped to take a selfie with one of them.
41-year-old Zelenskiy garnered 73 percent of the vote at the presidential election last month in a victory that reflected Ukrainians’ exhaustion with politics-as-usual.
Rumors about Zelenskiy’s potential bid first surfaced when he played the Ukrainian president in a television show several years earlier.
Zelenskiy wrapped up his speech at parliament by referring to his career as a comedian.
“Throughout all of my life I tried to do everything to make Ukrainians laugh,” he said with a smile. “In the next five years I will do everything so that Ukrainians don’t cry.”
Vasilyeva reported from Moscow.