Zelensky Deemed Acceptable Military Target, Says Medvedev

The Ukrainian leader, whose term in office expires this week, has been deemed a “war criminal” by Russia, former President Dmitry Medvedev has said

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, as the leader of a “hostile political regime” at war with Russia, is a legitimate military target, Dmitry Medvedev, the head of the nation’s Security Council, has said.

Speaking to TASS on Monday, Medvedev said that the question of Zelensky’s legitimacy as president is of no particular importance to Moscow.

“For Russia, the final loss of legitimacy by the pseudo-president of the former Ukraine will not change anything,” the former Russian president said, noting that the leaders of countries waging war are “always considered” a legitimate military target.

Medvedev called Zelensky a “war criminal,” who should be caught and brought to justice or “liquidated as a terrorist” for his crimes against Russians and Ukrainians.

Earlier this month, Zelensky appeared on the Russian Interior Ministry’s wanted list. No data, however, has been released about criminal proceedings against him.

The constitutional powers of the current Ukrainian president expired on May 20. A presidential election was originally scheduled for March, but was postponed under the pretext of martial law, which was imposed after the start of the conflict with Russia in February 2022, and has repeatedly been extended by the nation’s legislature.

Zelensky announced in December 2023 that no presidential or parliamentary elections would be held as long as martial law remains in force. In early May, lawmakers prolonged martial law by another three months.

According to Medvedev, Zelensky “effectively seized power” in the country after elections were annulled.

“He spat on the constitution of his ‘country,’ ignored the Constitutional Court, and did not even extend, but usurped the supreme power,” Medvedev argued, adding that Zelensky “covered himself with an inarticulate declaration of the Verkhovna Rada (the Ukrainian parliament) on the abolition of presidential elections in times of war.”

In March, Ukrainskaya Pravda claimed, citing members of parliament, that Zelensky had virtually stripped the legislature of its powers and established de facto personal rule.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said recently that a “moment will come soon when many people, including those inside Ukraine, will question [President Zelensky’s] legitimacy.”