Ukraine: President Zelensky Suspends Opposition Parties

(Updates) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, with the backing of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, declared that all opposition parties would be suspended indefinitely until martial law is declared over.

In a statement issued yesterday evening, President Zelenskyy announced the following decree: political parties who his party, “Servants of the People,” has identified as being pro-Russian would be suspended until the nation-wide martial law is lifted. The list essentially includes every opposition party.

With millions of their constituents now stripped of any political infrastructure, it’s safe to say that this is not the sort of action taken by a ‘democracy.’

Nor is it liberal. Sorry, Frum.

Among the suspended parties is the “Opposition Platform—For Life (OPFL),” Ukraine’s second-largest party in parliament. OPFL has been a stalwart defender of Ukraine’s sovereignty ever since the Russian invasion began. At the very start of the invasion, on February 24, OPFL expelled a member of their party for expressing support of the invasion. When martial law was declared and approved by parliament, not a single member of OPFL voted against the measure.  Days later, OPFL supported a measure criminalizing collaboration with Russia. On March 7, they issued a statement calling for a ceasefire and complete withdrawal of all Russian troops.

To put this in perspective, OPFL has 43 seats in Ukraine’s parliament. They represent millions of citizens and are particularly favored in eastern Ukraine.

If a similar action were to happen in the United States, it would be as though Biden stripped Republicans of all political influence.

The following political parties were suspended: Opposition Platform—For Life, Shariy Party, Nashi, Opposition Bloc, Left Opposition, Union of Left Forces, State, Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine, Socialist Party of Ukraine, Socialists, and Volodymyr Saldo Bloc.

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Ukraine has suspended the activities of eleven opposition parties, including the parliament’s second-largest group, for as long as the conflict with Russia continues.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced the decision on Sunday saying it was made “given the full-scale war and the ties of some political structures with this state,” referring to Russia.

Zelensky said that the activities of the opposition parties in Ukraine would be put on hold “for the period of martial law” and warned “Any activity of politicians aimed at division and collaboration won’t be successful, but will instead be faced with a harsh response”

NewsWars reports: A total of 11 parties were blacklisted, including Opposition Platform – For Life, which is the second-biggest in the Verkhovna Rada with 39 seats; Party of Shariy, founded by harsh critic of the Kiev authorities, blogger Anatoly Shariy; and Nashi party, headed by Evgeniy Murayev.

In January, the UK Foreign Office said that Murayev was the man whom the Kremlin wanted to put in charge of Ukraine instead of Zelensky. However, the claim was denied by officials in Moscow and the politician himself, who said it was “nonsense and stupidity.”

Opposition Platform – For Life said the suspension was “illegal” and promised to challenge it. “Instead of political dialogue [and] attempts to search for compromise and ways to unite the country, the authorities are relying on raiding, intimidation, repression and reprisals against their opponents,” the party said, urging its MPs and activists to continue working.

Shariy reacted by suggesting that Zelensky was only really looking to ban two parties – allegedly referring to his own and to Opposition Platform – while the rest were only added to the list so that the president could avoid “criticism and mockery” for blatantly targeting his opponents.

Russia sent its troops into Ukraine in late February, following a seven-year standoff over Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the breakaway Donbass republics in Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocols had been designed to regularize the status of those regions within the Ukrainian state.

Moscow has now demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it had been planning to retake the two republics by force.

Planet Today

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