The Latest: Russia voices hope of improved ties with Ukraine





KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - The Latest on Ukrainian politics (all times local):

1.10 p.m.

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

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russian President Vladimir Putin doesn't plan to send congratulations to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy following his official swearing-in earlier.

Peskov said Putin would only congratulate Zelenskiy on the "first successes" in settling the conflict in eastern Ukraine and normalizing 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 Zelenskiy's demand to release Ukrainian prisoners, Peskov told reporters that Moscow is willing to continue talks on the issue.

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11 a.m.

Ukrainian television star Volodymyr Zelenskiy has been sworn in as president and immediately disbanded the Ukrainian parliament.

Disbanding the Supreme Rada was one of his campaign promises, for Zelenskiy had branded the body as a group of people only interested in self-enrichment.

Before he made the announcement, Zelenskiy asked the parliament to adopt a bill against illegal enrichment and support his motion to fire the country's defense minister, the head of the Ukrainian Security Service and the Prosecutor General. All of them are allies of former President Petro Poroshenko, who lost the presidential election in a landslide to the comedian who had no previous political experience.

In a feisty speech after his inauguration, Zelenskiy told the Rada that his main goal for the presidency is to bring peace to eastern Ukraine, where government troops have been fighting Russia-backed separatists for five years.

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10:30 a.m.

Ukrainian television star Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Monday disbanded the parliament after he was sworn in as new president.

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

Before he made the announcement, Zelenskiy asked the parliament to adopt a bill against illegal enrichment and support his motion to fire the country's defense minister, the head of the Ukrainian Security Service and the Prosecutor General. All of them are allies of Petro Poroshenko who lost the election to the comedian with no previous political experience.

In a feisty speech after his inauguration, Zelenskiy told the Rada that his main goal for the presidency is to bring peace to eastern Ukraine where government troops have been fighting Russia-backed separatists for five years.

"I'm ready to do everything so that our heroes don't die there," he said. "I'm ready to lose my popularly and, if necessary, I'm ready to lose my post so that we have peace."

Zelenskiy ditched the idea of a traditional motorcade and walked to the parliament through a park packed with people. Flanked by four bodyguards, he was giving high-fives to some of the spectators and even stopped to take a selfie with one of them.

41-year-old Zelenskiy garnered 73 percent of the vote at the presidential election last month in a victory that reflected Ukrainians' exhaustion with politics-as-usual.

Rumors about Zelenskiy's potential bid first surfaced when he played the Ukrainian president in a television show several years earlier.

Zelenskiy 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 so that Ukrainians don't cry."

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Vasilyeva reported from Moscow.

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