KYIV – Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Monday it was irresponsible to engage in talk of holding an election in Ukraine in wartime and called for unity to avoid pointless political discussions.

Zelensky said it was critical to concentrate on the military challenges facing the country as it tries to push out Russian forces occupying nearly one-fifth of its territory more than 20 months after launching a full-scale invasion.

“We all understand that now, in wartime, when there are many challenges, it is utterly irresponsible to engage in topics related to an election in such a frivolous manner,” he said in his nightly video address.

“We need to recognise that this is a time for defence, a time for battle, upon which the fate of the state and its people depend… I believe that elections are not appropriate at this time.”

Elections are banned under martial law now in force in Ukraine, but Zelensky had been considering whether to invoke special provisions to stage them — a change in the law and foreign assistance to help pay for the process. He has said he would like to run for a second term if a vote took place.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said at the weekend that the president was weighing the pros and cons of a wartime poll.

There have been some calls from abroad, including from Republican US Senator Lindsey Graham, for an election to proceed as evidence of the good state of Ukraine’s democratic institutions. REUTERS

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