Ukraine president says 'not the time' for elections

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Monday he doesn't believe it is the right time for elections as debate intensifies on holding a vote in 2024 while the country fights against Russia's invasion.

All elections including the presidential vote set to take place next spring are technically cancelled under martial law that has been in effect since the conflict began last year.

"We must decide that now is the time of defence, the time of battle, on which the fate of the state and people depends," Zelensky said in his daily address.

He said it was a time for the country to be united, not divided, adding: "I believe that now is not the (right) time for elections."

The frontline between the warring sides has remained mostly static for almost a year despite a much-touted Ukrainian counter-offensive, with Russian forces entrenched in southern and eastern Ukraine.

Officials from the United States and Europe -- Kyiv's key allies -- are reported to have suggested holding negotiations to end the grinding 20-month-old conflict.

But Zelensky has fiercely denied that Ukraine's counter-offensive has hit a stalemate, or that Western countries were leaning on Kyiv to enter talks.

The United States and other supporters have publicly maintained they are ready to back Kyiv with military and financial aid for as long as it takes to defeat Russia.

Global attention has turned to the Middle East since the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel -- and Zelensky has come under increasing pressure.

The president, who was elected in 2019, said in September that he was ready to hold national elections next year if necessary, and was in favour of allowing international observers.

Voting could be logistically difficult due to...

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