Ukraine’s election has catapulted Volodymyr Zelensky, a 41-year-old standup comedian and television star with no political experience, into the nation’s top job.As leader of a country dependent on international aid and battling separatists, Zelensky will have to deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin, deep economic problems and possibly rebellious elites.Here is a look at the main challenges facing Ukraine’s sixth president:War with separatistsVoters expect the new commander-in-chief to end a five-year war with Moscow-backed separatists in the industrial east.The conflict has claimed some 13,000 lives since 2014 and is a huge burden on the economy and society.Despite numerous attempts to staunch the bloodletting, the conflict regularly claims the lives of soldiers and civilians, and a solution is nowhere in sight.Zelensky’s rival Petro Poroshenko accused the comic of lacking the gravitas and stamina to stand up to Putin. But analysts say Zelensky could use his outsider status to strike a political deal with the Kremlin, which has said it does not want to deal with Poroshenko.“Zelensky will look for diplomatic solutions and try to avoid settling the conflict through military means,” said Ukrainian political expert Mykola Davydyuk. In a major faux pas during Friday’s debate with Poroshenko, Zelensky called the separatists “rebels”, sparking the military’s anger.“We do not have ‘rebels’,” Ukraine’s General Staff said on Twitter. “We have Russian aggression.”Zelensky said he would not resort to force to take back Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.Struggling economyAfter a popular uprising ousted a Kremlin-backed regime in 2014, the new Ukrainian government secured a $17.5 billion deal led by the International Monetary Fund to buttress the struggling economy. But the disbursement of the funds has often been delayed as Poroshenko’s government has struggled to push through reforms required by the IMF, including anti-corruption measures and raising household gas prices.Zelensky said he will continue cooperating with the IMF and promised to do whatever is necessary to service the country’s debt.Analysts warn that he is facing a huge challenge as Ukraine’s debt obligations peak in the next few years.