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Zelenskyy Bans His Biggest Opposition Party, Solidifies His Power by Scuttling 10 Others

  Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced Sunday that almost a dozen pro-Russia political parties in Ukraine are being banned, the...

 Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced Sunday that almost a dozen pro-Russia political parties in Ukraine are being banned, the national news agency reported.

Eleven parties were banned overall, including the Opposition Platform for Life, which was the largest among them with 44 seats in Ukraine’s 450-seat parliament, according to the U.K. Guardian.

The Opposition Platform for Life, which is Ukraine’s biggest opposition party, is led by Viktor Medvedchuka, pro-Russia oligarch linked to Russian leader Vladimir Putin, The Guardian reported. 

Medvedchuk was charged with treason last year and escaped house arrest shortly after Russia opened its war on Ukraine. His whereabouts are unknown, according to The Guardian.

The Nashi (Ours) party was also banned. It is led by Yevhen Murayev, whom British intelligence sources said might be installed as leader of a Russia-backed puppet government if Russia conquers Ukraine, according to The Guardian. Murayev has denied the claims, the newspaper reported. 

Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev mocked the action.

“The most democratic president of modern Ukraine has taken another step towards the western ideals of democracy. By decision of the Council for National Defence and Security, he completely banned any activity of opposition parties in Ukraine. They are not needed! Well done! Keep it up,” Medvedev posted on Telegram, according to The Guardian.

Zelenskyy announced the actions in a video address, the national news agency Ukrinform reported.

“I’d like to remind all politicians, from all camps: wartime exposes quite well the paucity of personal ambitions of those who try to put their own ambitions, their own party or career above the interests of the state, the people’s interests; those who hide in the rear, while pretending to be the only one who cares about defense. Any activity on the part of politicians aimed at splitting [society] or collaborating will not succeed,” he said.

“But they will face a tough response.” 

“That is why the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine has decided that, given the full-scale war being waged by the Russian Federation and the ties that some political organizations have with that state, any activity of a number of political parties will be suspended pending martial law,” he said.

Zelenskyy on Sunday said he is ready for talks with Russian leader Vladimir Putin to end the war, according to CNN

“I’m ready for negotiations with him. I was ready for the last two years. And I think that without negotiations we cannot end this war,” he told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria. 

“I think that we have to use any format, any chance in order to have a possibility of negotiating, the possibility of talking to Putin. But if these attempts fail, that would mean that this is a third World War.

“We have always insisted on negotiations. We have always offered dialogue, offered solutions for peace,” he said. “And I want everyone to hear me now, especially in Moscow. It’s time to meet. Time to talk. It is time to restore territorial integrity and justice for Ukraine.”

Zelenskyy outlined his priorities for a settlement of the Russian invasion: “The end of the war, security guarantees, sovereignty, restoration of territorial integrity, real guarantees for our country, real protection for our country.”

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