Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky requested that the US and European Union send money to help pay for Ukrainian elections.
Zelensky said he would be willing to hold elections so long as the US and the EU bankroll the voting process.
According to the Ukrainian leader, elections during peacetime typically cost around 5 billion hryvnia ($135 million).
However, Zelensky did not say how much more they would cost during a war.
Zelensky said he discussed the issue with Lindsey Graham, one of the staunchest supporters of sending money to Ukraine.
“I told [Sen. Graham]: If the United States and Europe give us financial support… I’m sorry, I will not hold elections on credit; I will not take money from weapons and give it to elections either,” Zelensky said.
“But if you give me this financial support, if the parliamentarians realize that we need to do this, then let’s quickly change the legislation and, most importantly, let’s take risks together,” he added.
“Observers should be in the trenches. I told him that observers must be sent to the frontline so that the elections are legitimate for us and for the whole world. And this is absolutely fair,” he added.
Zelensky was elected in 2019 with over 73 percent of the vote after campaigning to cut down on corruption and normalizing relations with Russia.
Elections are prohibited while the country is under martial law, and the next date of martial law is set for November 15th, which means that parliamentary elections are being held are unlikely.
“We need help from Europe here because Ukrainians today are mostly in the European Union. Polling stations must be opened there so that people can come. 7 million people have to vote. We do not have such infrastructural capacities – we need to provide appropriate opportunities there,” Zelensky said
He also said he was unsure of how to allow the military to vote in full, saying:
“How will the military be able to vote? Show me the infrastructure. No one has shown it yet. How will people abroad be able to vote? No one has shown me. There is a way out. I am ready for it. I am talking about this publicly now, I told [Graham]. I have no secrets.”
“We need an election in Ukraine next year. I want to see this country have a free and fair election even while it is under assault,” the president said.