Fact Check: Nikki Haley Claims Ukraine Is a ‘Democracy’

Former Governor of South Carolina and United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley speaks during
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

CLAIM: Nikki Haley claimed Ukraine is a “democracy” during the GOP primary debate on Wednesday.

VERDICT: Misleading. Although Ukraine emerged after the dissolution of the Soviet Union as an unstable democracy, since the Ukrainian war began in 2022, Ukraine took steps away from operating as a democracy.

Those steps taken by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky include five measures:
  1. Canceling elections (which he has the right to do under Ukraine’s constitution because the country is in a state of martial law. He has declared that he is open to holding elections if Western countries pay for them.)
  2. Censoring non-state media
  3. Suspending opposition parties
  4. Effectively banning the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
  5. Placing priests under house arrest

“We all remember what that thug [Putin] did when he invaded Ukraine,” Haley said. “We all know that half a million people have died because of Putin.”

“And here is a freedom loving pro-American country that is fighting for its survival and its democracy,” Haley claimed in response to GOP presidential contender Vivek Ramaswamy:

Note: This article was updated to note that Ukraine’s constitution allows for the suspension of elections and that Zelensky said he was willing to hold elections if Western countries paid for them.

Follow Wendell Husebø on “X” @WendellHusebø. He is the author of Politics of Slave Morality.


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