Thursday, June 13, 2024

World

Ukrainians pin hopes on Zelenskyy to end war, support for him remains high

May 18, 2024 3:41 PM IST

As Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy marks five years in power on Monday (May 20), the prospect of reaching a peace deal with Russia after more than two years of war remains distant.

In 2019, Zelenskyy, a comedian with no political experience, competed against then incumbent president Petro Poroshenko and won the second round of election with 73 percent of votes.

He came into politics as a political novice who has tapped into an anti-establishment mood among Ukrainians who then decided that they were fed up with the existing politicians.

On May 20, 2019, Zelenskyy was sworn in by the country’s parliament.

The next election was due to be held in March this year, but the vote has been postponed indefinitely due to the war.

Over the past two years, Russia’s invasion and Ukraine’s resistance have propelled President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to global significance.

Refusing to leave Kyiv at the outbreak of the war, Zelenskyy rallied his compatriots and his approval ratings have soared.

As the war ran into its third year, support for the president has dipped but according to the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, his approval has stabilized at 60-65%.

Anton Hrushetskyi, Executive Director of the Institute said the situation on the battlefield and fight against corruption were the two main factors influencing the public opinion.

According to Hrushetskyi, majority of Ukrainians – from 70 to 80 percent – were of the mind it was right not to hold elections during at wartime and Zelenskyy remained a legitimate head of state.

Reuters talked to five individuals in Lviv, Kryvyi Rih, Kyiv and Sloviansk about how their perception of Zelenskyy has changed since 2019.

Four out of five polled by Reuters said if there were elections, they would vote for Zelenskyy, adding they believed he would successfully bring the war to the end.

Volodymyr Krivetskyi, who voted for Zelenskyy’s rival, Petro Poroshenko back in 2019 is now selling Ukraine’s president-themed gifts.

“These are just souvenirs but they are meaningful”, he said speaking at his stand with tens of Zelenskyy’s busts on display.

“We need to support him, we need the money, and I myself keep supporting him just like the whole world supports him,” Krivetsky said.

(Reuters)

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Last updated on: 13th June 2024