Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Monday in his nightly video address it was "utterly irresponsible" to discuss holding elections in Ukraine during a time of war. He called for unity to avoid pointless political discussions.
"We need to recognize that this is a time for defense, a time for battle, upon which the fate of the state and its people depend," he said. "I believe that elections are not appropriate at this time."
Zelenskyy said it was crucial to focus on the military challenges Ukraine is facing as it tries to repel Russian forces occupying nearly one-fifth of its territory more than 20 months after launching a full-scale invasion in February 2022.
Elections are banned under martial law now in force in Ukraine, but Zelenskyy had been considering whether to invoke special provisions to stage them, including a change in the law and foreign assistance to help pay for the process.
He has said he would like to run for a second term if a vote took place.
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said over the weekend that Zelenskyy was weighing the pros and cons of a wartime poll.
There have been some calls from abroad, including from Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, for an election to proceed as evidence of reforms of Ukraine’s democratic institutions.
Ukraine is hoping to receive a "positive" European Union appraisal of its progress toward eventual EU membership, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanishyna told Reuters on Monday.
Stefanishyna said that Kyiv has implemented all the reforms required of it. It is expected that the report coming out Wednesday will signal the beginning of talks on Ukraine’s accession into the EU, starting in December.
"I would say that the assessment would definitely be positive because we have been in permanent contact with the European Commission, discussing the steps and negotiating the steps we managed to implement," Stefanishyna said.
EU membership talks take years, as candidates must meet extensive legal and economic criteria before joining. The EU, which now has 27 member states, is also unwilling to take in a country that is at war.
In Poland, an EU country, Polish truckers blocked roads to three border crossings with Ukraine Monday, protesting what they see as government inaction over a loss of business to foreign competitors since Russia's war on Ukraine.
Local authorities said that Polish truckers do not like that Ukrainian transport companies are exempt from seeking permits to cross the Polish border since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
The truckers’ demands include reimposing restrictions on the number of Ukraine-registered trucks entering Poland and a ban on transport companies with capital from outside the European Union, among others.
"The blocking of the roads to the border crossings between Poland and Ukraine … is a painful stab in the back of Ukraine, which is suffering Russian aggression,” Ukraine’s ambassador in Warsaw, Vasyl Zvarych, wrote on social media platform X.
Ukraine’s commander in chief said Monday that his assistant, a major in rank, was killed in an explosion when he opened a booby-trapped birthday present that exploded.
"My assistant and close friend, Major Hennady Chastyakov, was killed in tragic circumstances on his birthday in a family setting," General Valery Zaluzhnyi wrote on the Telegram messaging app. "An unknown explosive device went off in one of his presents."
The Ukrainska Pravda online news outlet said a security source was told by Chastyakov's wife that the gift was a bottle of liquor in the form of a grenade that he had brought home. It exploded when he opened it.
Chastyakov's 13-year-old son suffered serious injuries from the explosion.
Ukraine on Monday launched a criminal investigation into military officers who organized a troop-honoring ceremony that was hit by a Russian missile strike, killing 19 soldiers in one of the deadliest single attacks reported by Ukrainian forces.
The State Bureau of Investigation said it aims to hold military officials accountable for the Rocket Forces and Artillery Day event held Friday near the front line in Zaporizhzhia, where Russian reconnaissance drones could easily spot the crowded gathering.
The carnage sparked a wave of criticism among Ukrainians who questioned on social media the planning of an event so close to the battlefield.
Zelenskyy lamented the deaths of the men of the 128th Separate Mountain-Assault Brigade of Zakarpattia as a “tragedy that could’ve been avoided,” AP reports.
In the city of Odesa, Russian drone and missile strikes wounded eight people late Sunday and damaged an art museum that is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Odesa’s National Art Museum said seven exhibitions, most featuring the work of contemporary Ukrainian artists, were damaged by a strike that left a large crater outside the museum, which was celebrating its 124th anniversary.
Russia’s war on Ukraine is the driving force behind continued high inflation and a decline in social services in Russia, according to the latest intelligence report from Britain’s ministry of defense.
Inflation rose to 6 percent in Russia in September, the ministry said Monday, driven by the rising cost of basic consumer items, like food and fuel.
The high inflation rate will also likely influence borrowing costs for Russian consumers and “impact the Russian government's debt service costs,” according to the ministry.
Some information for this story came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.