Zelenskyy: After presidential elections in Russia, 'game' to be on side of Western leaders – whether to recognize Putin's legitimacy or not
After the presidential elections in Russia, which will take place in March, Western leaders will have to decide whether to recognize the legitimacy of Vladimir Putin, if he goes and wins them, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said.
"We understand that elections in Russia are being held undemocratically. It doesn't matter how they go, everyone knows what the result will be... A question for the world: could these be illegitimate elections that the world does not recognize," Zelenskyy said in an interview with AP, full version which the presidential press service published on Saturday on Telegram.
According to him, after 2014 there were no such powerful blows to Russia's isolation, despite its occupation of part of Donbas and Crimea.
"And now, if Putin runs for the presidency, and probably there is a large percentage of this, and also a very high percentage that he will win. He is fighting with himself. Therefore, here the 'game' will already be on the side of the Western leaders of the civilized world - to recognize them or not. By the way, there may be a turning point - the illegitimacy of President Putin," the president said.
Answering the question whether he would urge international leaders to call the results of the elections in the Russian Federation illegitimate, Zelenskyy said that he "would really like the Western world to understand this themselves."
"So that I don't have to do this - call, put pressure, talk. It seems to me that the world already understands all this after all the grief that Russia has brought everywhere and, of course, to Ukraine," the head of state noted.
In addition, Zelenskyy is confident that there is no opposition to Putin in Russia.
"We see these people. We see such a conditional or artificial opposition, which has the same views with Putin on the war, on the global isolation of Russia, on the use of nuclear weapons, the economy, and the occupation of Ukraine. This is not opposition. This is just another satellite of Putin, although and with a different face, name and the same devil in the middle," he said.