Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his wife Olena Zelenska have demonstrated exactly where their priorities lie by taking time out from the war effort to pose for a glossy fashion photoshoot for US Vogue.
Zelensky, a former actor, and his wife were photographed together for the glamorous shoot by renowned celebrity photographer Annie Leibowitz – although the article primarily focused on Zelenska, 44. It’s titled: ‘Portrait of Bravery: Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska.’
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Following the publication of the piece, conservative pundits and politicians seized upon the photo shoot as evidence that the United States should not have sent $40 billion and counting in aid to the notoriously corrupt Eastern European country to help its war effort against Russia.
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To put the $40 billion figure into context, Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America, has calculated the cost of ending hunger in the US at $25 billion.
Rep. Lauren Boebert tweeted an image of Zelensky and Zelenska together while saying: ‘While we send Ukraine $60 billion in aid Zelensky is doing photoshoots for Vogue Magazine. These people think we are nothing but a bunch of suckers.‘
In the Vogue piece, Zelensky and his wife are picturd together inside of their compound in Mariinsky Palace on the outskirts of Kyiv.
DailyMail report: In one photo, Zelenska is pictured beside the downed remains of the world’s largest plane, the Antonov AN-225. The cargo aircraft was sabotaged at an airfield in Kyiv by Russian operatives in February.
Zelenska told Vogue: ‘These have been the most horrible months of my life, and the lives of every Ukrainian.’
She went on: ‘Frankly I don’t think anyone is aware of how we have managed emotionally. We’re looking forward to victory. We have no doubt we will prevail. And this is what keeps us going.’
The former comedy writer also said: ‘I like being backstage—it suited me. Moving into the limelight was quite difficult for me.’
Conservative activist Scott Presler tweeted: ‘Why did we send $54 billion to Ukraine, so Zelensky & his wife could pose for Vogue? You’re at war & you’ve got time for photo shoots?’
Texas Congresswoman Mayra Flores tweeted: ‘Biden: Let’s continue to send billions of dollars in foreign aid to Ukraine, they need it!’ She added: ‘Reality: The Zelensky family graces us with a photo shoot to be on the cover of Vogue magazine.’
There is no evidence that suggests any of the $60 billion given to Ukraine by the Biden administration was used to pay for the photoshoot.
On the other side of the debate, Verizon executive Tami Erwin tweeted support for the piece.
Erwin said: ‘An outstanding profile. Olena Zelenska has done an incredible job representing her people, ensuring the world knows the story of women and children of Ukraine – and continuing to give voice to the many in need.’
Pro Ukrainian activist Val Voschevska posted an analysis of the photoshoot on Instagram writing in part: ‘She is who she is and I love it. She looks like any of us after a long day at the office – the only difference is that her job is protecting her country from war.’
While a Ukrainian citizen wrote in the comments section under a picture of the the couple on Vogue’s official Instagram: ‘Thank you Vogue for bringing awareness about Ukraine from the voices of actual Ukrainians.’
Amid the row, Zelensky has also appeared on the cover of Wired magazine for their September/October issue.
In a more sombre shoot, the president stood alone wearing his trademark dark green t-shirt.
He spoke to the magazine about the importance of being a good communicator, saying: ‘We are all in a social network. It is no longer about whether it is good or not; most of our lives are already online. People study online, get information; people read, people use it. This is our world now. It is divided.
‘The internet is a reality. It is not another world, but rather a modern reality. So if you want people to perceive you as you are, you must use what people use.’
‘The value of life has changed. So let’s say that my attitude has changed, as I do not pay attention to trivialities anymore, and there are clear aspects on which I am focused.
‘The question of the price of freedom, which we learned from books in school, has now become a reality. You know this price. You have seen the number of people who died.’
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