Ukraine’s Parliament in Wartime

Yuliya Kyrychenko from the Centre of Policy and Legal Reform has explained how Ukraine’s legislature is organised in emergency situations, and how the Verkhovna Rada copes with the challenges of war.

On 3 May 2022, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed Ukraine’s parliament – the Verkhovna Rada – over video link. The members of the Verkhovna Rada gathered in person to hear Johnson’s remarks. The appearance was one of normality: a head of government addressing a national parliament that had physically gathered to hear his remarks, albeit delivered remotely from abroad.

However, nothing could be further from the truth. Ukraine is under a sustained armed attack from Russia. Russia’s original goals were to “demilitarise and de-Nazify Ukraine” and “ensuring its neutral status”. Those goals have now shifted toward the seizure of the Donbas – i.e., the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk. The seizure of the Donbas may be followed by an illegal referendum and annexation, as occurred in Crimea in 2014. In addition, Russia may seek to cut off Ukraine from the Black Sea entirely and establish a land corridor to connect Donbas to Transnistria, a breakaway region of Moldova with Russian troops.

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