By: Emmi Kivi
September 5 2023
Viral social media posts misinterpreted Zelenskyy's comments; he did not say he would not hold elections unless the U.S. and EU paid for them.
U.S. far-right media platform Breitbart published a viral post stating that Ukraine's President Zelenskyy “says he won’t hold elections unless U.S. and EU pay for them.” The post garnered 22,879 likes on Instagram and 48,800 views on X (formerly Twitter).
The social media messaging leads to a Breitbart article that misleadingly represents President Zelenskyy's comments on elections in Ukraine from the interview with Nataliia Moseichuk, anchor for the 1+1 Channel, on August 27. While it is true that Ukraine's President did bid for foreign financial support to hold elections, he did not demand the U.S. or the EU to cover the total costs for them to happen.
On August 23, an American legislator delegation visited Ukraine and pushed for President Zelenskyy to hold elections even during wartime. Among the visitors was U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham. Zelenskyy disclosed his conversation with Senator Graham during the interview with Moseichuk.
The English transcript of the interview is available on the official website of the President of Ukraine. Accordingly, the President expressed the will to arrange elections in 2024, but ensuring fairness in these elections would necessitate legislation adjustments, international observers, and international financial backing. The President stated, “We need an election in Ukraine next year. I want to see this country have a free and fair election even while it is under assault.”
According to the Ukrainian constitution, the parliamentary election should be held in autumn 2023, with the presidential election in March 2024. No election can be held in Ukraine during martial law, which has been in effect since February 2022.
In the interview, Zelenskyy emphasized that the rights of all voters must be guaranteed. In discussing the option of holding elections under martial law, the President disclosed, “We need the military to be able to vote. They are defending this democracy today, and not giving them this opportunity because of the war is unfair. I was against the elections only because of this issue."
To reach a universal vote, President Zelenskyy spoke about the importance of U.S. and EU assistance with providing international elections observers in the trenches and organizing additional election stations. “We need help from Europe here, because Ukrainians today are mostly in the European Union. Polling stations must be opened there so that people can come. We do not have such infrastructural capacities - we need to provide appropriate opportunities there,” the President remarked.
“There is a way out. I'm ready for it”, the President concluded.
Logically Facts has previously covered and disproved multiple misleading and erroneous claims about President Zelenskyy and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
President Zelenskyy did not say he will not hold elections unless the U.S. and EU pay for them. In the interview with Moseichuk, Zelenskyy expressed his will to organize elections in Ukraine in 2024. Still, fair elections would require legislative changes, international observers, and some financial support from partners like the U.S. and EU. Therefore, we have marked the claim as misleading.