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  1. ITV Report

Ex-TV star and new Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy high-fives crowds and dissolves Parliament as he is sworn in

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Juliet Bremner

Ukrainian TV star Volodymyr Zelenskiy has dissolved the country's parliament after being sworn in as the country's new president.

Ahead of the ceremony, Mr Zelenskiy gave out high-fives and took selfies along the way.

Mr Zelenskiy won 73% of the vote last month in a landslide victory that reflected Ukrainians' exhaustion with widespread corruption and the country's political elite.

In a speech following his inauguration, Mr Zelenskiy immediately dissolved parliament, which he has branded as a group only interested in self-enrichment.

Disbanding the Supreme Rada was one of the campaign promises of Mr Zelenskiy, who described it as a group of people only interested in self-enrichment.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy jumped to kiss a tall man on his head. Credit: AP

Before he made the announcement, Mr Zelenskiy asked the parliament to adopt a Bill against illegal enrichment and support his motion to sack the country's defence minister, the head of the Ukrainian security services and the prosecutor general.

All of them are allies of Petro Poroshenko, who lost the election to a comedian with no previous political experience.

As ministers and lawmakers listened to the speech with dismay, Zelenskiy urged everyone in the cabinet to resign, asking them to “free the spot for people who will think about the future generations, not about the future elections”.

The 41-year-old also promised to bring peace to eastern Ukraine, where government troops have been fighting Russian-backed separatists for five years in a conflict that has left at least 13,000 dead.

"I'm ready to do everything so that our heroes don't die there," he said.

"It wasn't us who started that war.

"But we need to be the one to finish it."

Volodymyr Zelenskiy arriving at his inauguration with high-fives. Credit: AP

The former actor also upended other Ukrainian political traditions Monday and ditched the idea of a traditional motorcade to his inauguration, walking to parliament in the capital of Kiev through a park packed with people.

Flanked by four bodyguards, the beaming president-elect gave high-fives to some spectators, even stopping to take a selfie with one of them.

  • How will Vladimir Putin react to Mr Zelenskiy?
Russian President Vladimir Putin doesn't plan to send congratulations to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy following his official swearing-in. Credit: AP

The Kremlin has voiced hope that the newly sworn Ukrainian President will help normalise ties with Russia.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russian President Vladimir Putin does not plan to send congratulations to Mr Zelenskiy following his official swearing-in.

Mr Peskov said Mr Putin would only congratulate Mr Zelenskiy on the "first successes" in settling the conflict in eastern Ukraine and normalising relations with Russia.

Relations between the two countries have been strained ever since Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea in 2014 and the subsequent separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine.

Asked if Russia could meet Mr Zelenskiy's demand to release Ukrainian prisoners, Mr Peskov told reporters that Moscow is willing to continue talks on the issue.

  • How have lawmakers reacted?
Volodymyr Zelenskiy even stopped for a selfie. Credit: AP

Many lawmakers had already viewed Mr Zelenskiy's inauguration with apprehension, and it was not clear if the new president could legally dissolve the sitting parliament.

Political factions have been manoeuvring for weeks trying to avoid such a situation.

Mr Zelenskiy is hoping to ride the wave of his electoral success to get his supporters into parliament.

Ukraine's parliamentary election was scheduled for October 27, and the current legislature's authority expires in late November.

The Ukrainian law allows the president to disband the parliament no later than six months before its power expires.

In a bid to deprive Mr Zelenskiy of the opportunity to call an early election, a faction in the Rada had announced its departure from the ruling coalition, technically collapsing Mr Poroshenko's government.

The parliament's rules envisage that it cannot be disbanded within 30 days following the announcement of a collapse of the ruling coalition.

Mr Zelenskiy's supports argued, however, that the motion was legally void because the coalition had long ceased to exist.

The new president wrapped up his speech at parliament by referring to his career as a comedian.

“Throughout all of my life, I tried to do everything to make Ukrainians laugh,” he said with a smile.

“In the next five years I will do everything, Ukrainians, so that you don't cry.”