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No laughing matter: cometh the hour, cometh the comedian

World

No laughing matter: cometh the hour, cometh the comedian

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has proved to be a surprisingly effective and inspiring war leader, and his popularity has soared

Marc Champion and Daryna Krasnolutska

Volodymyr Zelenskyy may be among the least likely wartime leaders the world has known, yet he’s winning praise in the role just when his political fortunes were dwindling.

A Russian-speaking former television comic of Jewish background, Zelenskyy was elected as Ukraine’s president just less than three years ago on a promise to bring peace. On Friday he was at war in the capital Kiev, accused by Russian President Vladimir Putin of leading a fascist regime guilty of “genocide” in the east of the country.

Western leaders dismiss those claims as fabrications — “ridiculous”, said German Chancellor Olaf Scholz — but with Russian troops fighting their way into Kiev at the weekend, there was little sugar-coating the desperate situation for Zelenskyy and an independent Ukraine. Putin has declared he wants Zelenskyy gone...

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