Ukrainian comedian sworns in as President

Kiev: Comedian Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday sworned in as the new President of Ukraine at a ceremony here. He announced parliamentary elections during his swearing in as Ukraine’s new President on Monday. The election may take place in October. “I am dissolving the Verkhovna Rada (parliament)”, the BBC quoted Zelensky as saying.

Zelensky made his inaugural address in Ukrainian, but at one point, referring to the conflict in the east, he switched to Russian, saying: “I’m convinced that for this dialogue to start, we must see the return of all Ukrainian prisoners” — apparently a message to the Russian government.

A political novice, he campaigned strongly against official corruption. “(Those) people must come to power who will serve the public,” he said on Monday. In the election, Zelensky ousted incumbent Petro Poroshenko who had been in power since 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would not congratulate Zelensky on his inauguration, but would wait for “the first successes in settling the internal conflict in south-eastern Ukraine, and in normalising the Russian-Ukrainian relations”.

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