Putin queries political legitimacy of Ukrainian President Zelenskiy in absence of elections

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin queried the political legitimacy of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Friday when asked about the absence of plans to hold a presidential election in Ukraine at the moment.

Martial law imposed after Putin sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine in February 2022 means Zelenskiy will not face an election when his term technically expires later this month, something he and Ukraine's allies deem to be the right decision to take at a time of war.

When asked at a news conference in China during a state visit whether Zelenskiy's political legitimacy was becoming an issue, Putin, who was re-elected for a six-year term in March, said the matter was a question for Ukraine's constitutional court and political system to decide.

But he said the question mattered to Russia because if and when it signed some kind of agreement with Ukraine in future about the war it wanted to be sure it was signing a deal with the right person.

"If it comes to signing documents, we should sign those documents in such a crucial area with the legitimate authorities," said Putin, whose own re-election Washington has said was neither free nor fair in comments which Moscow rejected.

(Reporting by Reuters; Writing by Lucy Papachristou; Editing by Andrew Osborn)