Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry calls on world to reject the legitimacy of Putin’s presidency

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry calls on world to reject the legitimacy of Putin’s presidency
The day before Russian president is due to be sworn into his fifth term in office, Ukraine's Foreign Ministry called on the rest of the world to deny his legitimacy as president. / bne IntelliNews
By Ben Aris in Berlin May 7, 2024

Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it does not recognise Vladimir Putin as the democratically elected and legitimate president of Russia the day before he was due to be inaugurated for the fifth time, and called on the rest of the world to follow suit.

Putin was re-elected president and is due to be sworn in for his fifth term in office on May 7 after winning a landslide victory in the recent elections held on March 13-15, where he won 87% of the vote. The election was not recognised as free and fair by international observers.

"We call on foreign countries, international organisations and the public to follow suit by not recognising the results of these pseudo-elections or Russian dictator Vladimir Putin as a legitimate president,” Ukraine’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a statement.

The MFA also pointed out that Putin is a wanted criminal after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant for his arrest in March last year on charges of kidnapping children.

“Based on the foregoing and the International Criminal Court's active arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin, Ukraine sees no legal basis for recognising him as the democratically elected and legitimate president of the Russian Federation,” the MFA statement reads.

The inauguration ceremony is an attempt by the Russian authorities to give the entire world and its own citizens “the illusion of legality for the nearly lifelong stay in power of a person who has turned the Russian Federation into an aggressor state and the ruling regime into a dictatorship”, the MFA said.

The foreign ministry noted that during the so-called "elections" in Russia, there were numerous violations of international norms, including the organisation of voting in the four Ukrainian regions annexed by Russia last year.

“The illegal organisation of another so-called electoral process in the sovereign territories of Ukraine temporarily occupied by the Russian Federation – parts of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, and the city of Sevastopol – accompanied by threats, blackmail, and coercion of millions of Ukrainian citizens who live in temporarily occupied territories or were forcibly relocated to the territory of the Russian Federation constituted a brutal violation of the generally recognized norms and principles of international law,” the MFA said.

The MFA listed other breaches of international accepted rules for elections including: the UN Charter, the Declaration on the Principles of International Law, the Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe and dozens of UN General Assembly resolutions.

"Despite warnings from authoritative international institutions, the Russian Federation's actions once again demonstrate that its leadership does not recognise its responsibility and is unwilling to end the illegal, unprovoked and unjustified full-scale armed aggression against Ukraine,” the MFA said.

Putin’s legitimacy has also been questioned by Europe. In a stinging blow for Putin’s prestige, the European Parliament issued a resolution at the end of April, saying the Russian presidential elections were not free and fair and that Putin’s new term in office is not legitimate. Moreover, the resolution openly called Putin a “murderer” and said he was personally responsible for opposition figure and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny’s death in a Russian prison camp on February 16.

Putin’s inauguration ceremony has been almsot universally shunned by EU politicians and few non-Europe VIPs will attend either. Czechia, Estonia and Latvia have confirmed that their representatives will not be attending Vladimir Putin's so-called inauguration on May 7. Diplomats from France, Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Hungary and Slovakia will send diplomats to attend Putin's inauguration, according to the list published by Ukrayinska Pravda. No heads of state from Europe were in attendance.

Likewise, few dignitaries will travel to Russia to participate in the May 9 Victory Day parade, as Russia’s’ non-aligned friendly countries are nervous over associating too closely with Putin personally in public. The only countries to confirm their participation in the military parade to celebrate the end of WWII include: Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Cuba, Laos and Guinea-Bissau.