The Mayor of Kyiv Vitali Klitschko has launched a rare public criticism of Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky. The former boxer has claimed that ordinary Ukrainians are losing faith in President Zelensky as a result of his handling of Russia’s invasion.
Klitschko’s remarks have been taken as the clearest indication yet of a growing split among the Ukrainian elite following the country’s failed counteroffensive against occupying Russian forces.
According to the recent internal Ukrainian polling reported in The Economist last month, President Zelensky’s approval ratings stood at 32 percent.
The most widely trusted figure in Ukraine is General Valery Zaluzhny, the head of the armed forces, with an approval rating of 70 per cent. Meanwhile, Kyrylo Budanov, the country’s spy chief, has a trust rating of 45 percent.
Klitschko – a former ally of President Zelensky – told Swiss media outlet 20 Minuten: “People wonder why we weren’t better prepared for this war, why Zelensky denied until the end that it would come to this,
“People see who’s effective and who’s not. And there were and still are a lot of expectations. Zelensky is paying for mistakes he has made.”
Klitschko went as far as to suggest that Zelensky could pose a threat to Ukrainian society because of his authoritarian tendencies. The former heavyweight boxing champion said in a separate interview with the German news magazine Der Spiegel: “At some point we will no longer be any different from Russia, where everything depends on the whim of one man.”
Meanwhile, Ukrainian authorities have launched an inquiry on Sunday into accusations of Russian forces committing a potential war crime by killing surrendering Ukrainian soldiers.