Front-runner in Ukraine’s election race names condition for returning Crimea

The front-runner in the election race in Ukraine, showman and politician, Volodymyr Zelensky, speaking about his views on the Crimea and Donbas issue in an interview with the ICTV channel, announced that he considers a change of power in Moscow to be the only condition for returning the Crimea to Kyiv's control.

“Crimea will return only when power changes in Russia. There is no other choice, “said Zelensky.

Speaking about the status of Donbas, Zelensky stressed that he does not believe in the Minsk agreements in their current version. “All that we have is the Minsk agreements, but they do not work, they need to be expanded. It is possible to introduce peacekeepers on the demarcation line and implement the Volker plan, but I believe that the problem is an internal question [of Ukraine],” he explained.

According to him, there are two scenarios for Donbas return to Kyiv’s control. The first involves a large-scale information war, which the Ukrainian side wins. Residents of Donbas should “realize that they are Ukrainians,” stressed Zelensky. The presidential candidate believes that in order to achieve this, the first step should be the creation of an international channel that will broadcast the “truth about the political life” of Ukraine.

In addition, Kyiv authorities could show residents of conflict regions that they remember them and consider them as citizens of Ukraine. “We have to pay pensions. Yes, this is a big loss for the country's budget, but Luhansk and Donbas are also part of our country,” Zelensky said.

According to the study conducted by the public organization Advanced Legal Initiatives, 34.04% of voters are ready to support Zelensky. This is more than double than 14.22%, achieved by the current president of the country, Petro Poroshenko. In third place with 12.9% is the leader of the Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) party, Yulia Tymoshenko.

According to the survey’s data, Zelensky is leading in almost all regions with the greatest support shown by the residents of the Dnipropetrovsk region (45.73% of interviewed voters).

Presidential elections will be held in Ukraine on 31 March 2019. The list of candidates, which was approved by the Central Election Commission of Ukraine CEC on March 8, includes 39 names.

  Ukraine, Zelensky, Crimea, Kyiv, CEC