Volodymyr zelensky

Should Ukraine hold a general election next year?

In the months before Russia invaded Ukraine last year, Volodymyr Zelensky was fighting for his political life. The former comedian was elected in 2019 on a pledge to end the war in Donbas by an electorate exasperated with its political class. Zelensky initially set out to negotiate with Vladimir Putin – but achieved nothing. He appeared naive and out of his depth. However, Zelensky’s transformation into a wartime leader captured the world’s imagination and rallied his allies. Yet some of those allies are beginning to ask whether, if this war is really about the free world versus autocracy, as Zelensky claims, Ukraine should hold a general election next year. Many

Why the US will decide Ukraine’s fate

As Ukraine marked its 32nd national holiday since independence, news from the front lines and the wider world appeared better than perhaps in any week since the recapture of Kherson in November. In Zaporizhzhia, the hard-fought front lines moved a few miles forward. In Crimea, a missile strike took out a Russian S-400 anti-aircraft complex and a team of Ukrainian commandos briefly raised their yellow-and-blue flag on the peninsula for the first time since Russia’s 2014 annexation. A Russian Mi-8 helicopter pilot defected to Ukraine with a load of jet engine parts. Near-nightly waves of drone strikes deep inside Russia blew up two Tu-22M long-range bombers, four Il-78 transport aircraft

Inside Ukraine’s drone army

Kyiv ‘We will end this war with drones,’ says Mykhailo Fedorov, deputy prime minister of Ukraine. We meet at the Ministry of Digital Transformation, which he runs in Kyiv. It has become crucial to the counter-offensive. To reclaim occupied land, Ukrainian troops need to remove miles of landmines, and can do so only if kept safe by swarms of drones that fly ahead, searching for the enemy. Russia has drones too – many more of them – and is adept at jamming and downing Ukraine’s fleet. A drone arms race is under way. Soon after his election, President Volodymyr Zelensky asked the then 28-year-old Fedorov to run a new ministry

Zelensky was right to feel cheated by Nato

Gitanas Nauseda stood outside his palace and checked his watch. The Lithuanian President’s guests – the leaders of the other 30 Nato countries, VIPs from Europe and Asia, Volodymyr Zelensky – were an hour late for dinner. Nauseda idled on the red carpet with his wife, and the couple stared at the setting sky. An adviser muttered down his phone and shook his head. The President shrugged. Nato had just issued a statement saying that Ukraine would become a member of the bloc ‘when allies agree and conditions are met’. The alliance needed to see ‘democratic and security sector reforms’. Zelensky tweeted that the statement was ‘absurd’. He had come

What Zelensky has taken from his former TV career

Volodymyr Zelensky is one of the few leaders of modern times whose charisma, determination and sheer cojones can be said, without exaggeration, to have changed the course of history. In the first hours of the Russian invasion the US famously offered to evacuate him from Kyiv to a safer location, to which his response was (in spirit, if not in actual words): ‘I need ammo, not a ride.’ His determination to remain in the heart of his besieged capital seriously confounded Putin’s invasion plans, which were predicated on quickly toppling or murdering him. And Zelensky’s idea to film himself and his top advisers on his iPhone strolling down Kyiv’s Bankova

Will Nato accept Ukraine?

Shortly after the invasion of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky made an offer to Vladimir Putin. Ukraine would drop its ambition to join Nato and would instead stay neutral, he said. It would not align with the West, in exchange for an end to hostilities. It was a sincere offer, and unpopular with Ukrainians. Yet it was significant: Putin had cited Ukraine’s Nato ambitions as the main reason for the invasion, saying it showed the West was somehow threatening Russia. But today, that offer ended and Zelensky is seeking the ‘accelerated’ Nato accession granted to Finland and Sweden this year. Will Nato accept? Jens Stoltenberg, Nato Secretary-General, dodged the question when asked today. ‘Our focus

Can Zelensky afford to freeze Ukraine’s gas prices?

This morning, Volodymyr Zelensky signed a moratorium on energy prices – so while gas bills are rising all over Europe, Ukraine will remain unaffected. This honours a pledge he made on his election. Freezing energy bills is a standard populist policy in Ukrainian politics (in a country where temperatures can reach -25ºC and the elderly can’t afford to buy medicine, it’s hard to win without making such promises). But there are now serious worries about whether it could bankrupt a government that needs all the money it can get to fight a war. Energy prices will be frozen until six months after martial law ends in Ukraine: the pledge is