Ukrainian presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky will be expecting incumbent President Petro Poroshenko to debate him at the Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kyiv on 19 February at 19:00, his spokesperson Dmitry Razumkov told Interfax-Ukraine.

“We said that we would be expecting Petro Oleksiyovych [Poroshenko] on 19 April at 19:00 at the Olimpiyskiy Stadium. We hope that he will still get a chance to go there. If not, it seems to us that it is simply Petro Oleksiyovych who really wants to get out of these debates. That Zelensky would not be there today was known in advance. And for some reason Poroshenko wanted to go there today. He did what he wanted. But the debates were not supposed to take place today,” the representative explained.

Razumkov pointed out that Zelensky had wanted to hold the debates at the stadium itself so that the citizens of Ukraine could actually attend the debate, in addition to viewing it on TV.

“Today Petro Oleksiyovych’s agitational rally was held at the stadium. We do not participate in the agitational rallies of the guarantor of the Constitution who is still in office,” he emphasized.

The spokesperson also remarked that Ukrainian law does not stipulate that such debates must be held in a public TV studio, although a Central Election Commission regulation does require this.

“With all due respect, the law is above such a regulation. Nowhere does the law stipulate that the debates must be held at a public studio at such-and-such an address – it is a free interpretation of the law, as is often the case with members of the current political elite. When it suits them, they try to adjust to law to their needs,” Razumkov explained.

Zelensky’s representative also said that it is too early to talk about the Verkhovna Rada being disbanded if Zelensky is elected. Such a decision would have to be made exclusively in accordance with the law and in the public’s interest, he stressed.

“Zelensky, when he becomes president, will stick to the letter of the law. He will not make laws as it suits him or try to manipulate them, as is happening today, he will act in accordance with the law. It’s actually hard for me to comment on this now, because Zelensky is not yet president,” he said.

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