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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

West will remove Zelensky – Kremlin

Once the Ukrainian leader has served his purpose, he will go, Moscow has said

The US and its allies will tolerate Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky until he has served his purpose, at which point he will be replaced, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.

President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman gave an interview to Izvestia on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), where he addressed recent remarks by the president about the likely fate of Zelensky.

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“Obviously, he will be removed,” Peskov said. “Obviously, reducing the mobilization age will cause an increasing wave of negativity in Ukrainian society.”

Peskov’s comments came as clarification to statements made by Putin on Wednesday, in a meeting with the heads of international news agencies that lasted more than three hours. At one point, the Russian president noted that the US has been pressuring Ukraine to mobilize increasingly younger men.

According to Putin, Washington has already compelled Kiev to lower the draft age from 27 to 25, with a view of moving it down to 23 next, and then to 20 or straight to 18.

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“The law has to be passed and certain steps have to be taken,” Putin explained. “It is now June 2024, and in order to do this, I feel, it will take a year. He will be tolerated until the spring, until the beginning of next year at the very least. When it is done, they will say goodbye.”

Ukraine is currently losing around 50,000 troops per month and is able to mobilize only 30,000 replacements, leaving Kiev with an unsolvable problem, Putin added.

The West already has “a few candidates” lined up to serve as president of Ukraine, according to the Russian president. Earlier in the conversation, Putin said that Zelensky had effectively carried out a coup by extending his presidential term past May 20, when it legally expired.

Zelensky has argued that Ukrainian law forbids elections during a state of emergency, so he has to stay in office until the end of the conflict with Russia. The Ukrainian constitution, however, contains no such provisions – and in fact stipulates that the head of the parliament should assume power.