Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has banned 11 opposition parties, including left-wing parties and those with suspected ties to the Kremlin. Despite the crackdown on political opposition, the Ukrainian leader did not ban any parties with links to neo-Nazis, including the ethnonationalist Svoboda and neo-fascist group Right Sector.
The country’s national security and defence council ordered the 11 parties, which includes the Opposition Platform — For Life, Ukraine’s largest opposition party, from conducting any political activity. The party has 44 seats in the 450-seat Ukrainian parliament.
Other parties banned by Zelensky include the Nashi party, and a number of smaller left-wing parties that do not have representation in the parliament, including the Opposition Bloc, the Party of Sharia, Left Opposition, Union of Left Forces, State, Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine, Socialist Party Ukraine, Socialists, and the Vladimir Saldo Bloc, Ukrinform reported.
“I’d like to remind all politicians, from all camps: wartime exposes quite well the paucity of personal ambitions of those who try to put their own ambitions, their own party or career above the interests of the state, the people’s interests; those who hide in the rear, while pretending to be the only one who cares about defence,” said Zelensky in a video address on Sunday.
“The activities of those politicians aimed at division or collusion will not succeed, but will receive a harsh response,” Zelensky added, claiming that the parties had alleged ties to Russia.
“Therefore, the national security and defense council decided, given the full-scale war unleashed by Russia, and the political ties that a number of political structures have with this state, to suspend any activity of a number of political parties for the period of martial law,” he added.
According to officials from the Opposition Platform — For Life, the ban “had no legal basis.”
Last year, Zelensky’s government charged opposition party leader Viktor Medvedchuk with treason and placed him under house arrest. The Guardian reported that three days after the invasion on February 24, Medvedchuk escaped. His whereabouts are currently unknown.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly claimed that one of his stated objectives for the invasion of Ukraine is to “de-Nazify” the country’s government.