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G7 Ambassadors Criticize Ukrainian President's Lustration Initiative

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy (file photo)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy (file photo)

The Group of Seven countries' ambassadors to Ukraine have expressed caution about Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's proposal to lustrate Ukrainian officials who held office after the Maidan uprising in 2014.

In a statement posted on Twitter on July 12, the ambassadors said that "electoral change and political rotation are the norm in democracies."

"Indiscriminate bans on all participants in executive and legislative governance are not," they continued, adding that "the situation in Ukraine today is, in our conviction, not comparable to that after the Revolution of Dignity."

The Revolution of Dignity refers to the 2014 uprising that drove pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych from power.

On July 11, Zelenskiy proposed expanding Ukraine's law on lustration to include everyone who held a government post between February 21, 2014, and May 19, 2019.

The current law was aimed at preventing those who held office under Yanukovych from continuing to do so.

Zelenskiy said he daily wonders what to do with state officials – "either to exchange them for prisoners or put them in the substandard bulletproof vests that they bought and send them to the front lines" of the war against Russia-backed separatist formations in parts of eastern Ukraine.

Former President Petro Poroshenko said the proposal was "Russian revanchism."

He said the purpose of Zelenskiy's initiative was to remove "those who defended Ukraine" to "clear space for a fifth column."

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