Volodymyr Zelensky appears on Dancing with the Stars in 2006
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The Ukrainian President vowed that “God will not forgive” and his country will “not forget” the attacks on innocent civilians in a late-night address to his countrymen. Mr Zelensky said a “day of judgement” is coming for Russian forces as Vladimir Putin’s abhorrent invasion enters a twelfth day. The Kremlin has opened six humanitarian corridors for civilians to leave major Ukrainian cities, set up at the personal request of French President Emmanual Macron and in light of the ongoing situation in some cities.
However, several of the corridors will lead into Russian and Belarusian-controlled land, rather than EU and NATO member states.
Mr Zelenksy is believed to have rejected the proposals, as Kyiv slammed the “immoral” plans.
Just a fortnight ago, few outside Ukraine knew much about Mr Zelenksy, Ukraine’s affable war hero President.
Mr Zelensky, 44, enjoyed a successful entertainment career before moving into high office.
Express.co.uk has unearthed a video of Mr Zelenksy’s finest hour — his 2006 triumph of Tantsi z zirkamy, Ukraine’s version of Strictly Come Dancing.
Mr Zelensky can be seen waltzing, performing a blindfolded routine and doing the paso doble with partner Olena Shoptenko.
The ordinary man who surged to become one of the most-talked about politicians in the world has enjoyed a series of social media successes in recent days and weeks as his life before politics emerged.
He previously made an immensely popular television series, Servant of the People, about an ordinary man in his thirties who unexpectedly becomes President of Ukraine.
Servant of the People ran for four years, and such was its success that a political party named after the television series was registered with Ukraine’s Ministry of Justice.
The final episode aired in March 2019.
Mr Zelensky became President less than a month later, winning more than 70 percent of the second round vote.
Last night, Channel 4 broadcast the hour-long pilot of the series, as well as two 30-minute episodes.
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The first two seasons are also available with English subtitles on YouTube.
In Servant of the People, Mr Zelensky plays a high school history teacher prone to the occasional moment of lunacy, and blunders around much like Mr Bean.
Three years on from the final series and the world sees Mr Zelensky guiding his country’s response to the most terrifying conflict Europe has seen in decades.
Kyiv yesterday accused Russia of making safe movement out of Ukrainian cities impossible, after fresh attacks forced evacuation plans to be cancelled.
A family of four were killed on Sunday when Russian forces fired at people fleeing the town of Irpin, northwest of Kyiv.
Mariupol, the hugely important port city in the southeast of Ukraine, continues to face heavy bombardment.
The city is now in its sixth day without running water, power and sanitation.
Food and water are quickly running out, with an estimated 200,000 believed to be trapped.
Some 1.5 million people have already fled Ukraine since Putin ordered the invasion on February 24, according to the UN Refugee Agency.
Mr Zelensky has, according to several reports, survived a number of assassination attempts since the invasion began.
The reports are not verified, however, and simply come from Ukrainian officials.
Nonetheless, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday that Kyiv is prepared for the possibility of Mr Zelensky being killed by Russian shelling or assassination.
Speaking on CBS’ Face the Nation, he said: “The Ukrainians have plans in place, that I’m not going to talk about or get into any details on, to make sure that there is what we would call ‘continuity of government’ one way or another.
“And let me leave it at that.”
Mr Zelensky’s immediate successor, under the Ukrainian constitution, is Ruslin Stefanchuk, chair of the country’s parliament.
American officials told The New York Times that he would continue Ukraine’s resistance against Russia if Mr Zelensky was to be incapacitated or killed, based on discussions with the country’s government.
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