An Unlikely Hero: Ukraine’s stiff resistance against Russia lead by Volodymyr Zelensky

Volodymyr Zelensky Ukraine President

From a political novice to a leader, Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed to stay in Kyiv as the Russian invasion continues. From a political novice to a leader, Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed to stay in Kyiv as the Russian invasion continues.

Zelensky said in a video message that he is Russia’s number one target, with his family being the second. He appeared again on camera to further prove his presence in the capital and praised his outgunned and outmanned military. In a speech, he said, “We have withstood and successfully repelled enemy attacks. The fighting continues in many cities and districts of our state, but we know that we protect the country, the land, the future of children.”

Five days into Russia’s invasion, Zelensky’s defiance has done more than enough to transform the West’s policies towards Russia. His pleading and willingness have caused the US and the EU to go farther and faster in action against Russia. The EU has already imposed heavy sanctions against Russia and in the statement on Saturday, Zelensky said that the Ukrainian people have “already deserved and have the right to become a member of the European Union ”. 

Zelensky was well-known before he was a President. He was an actor and a comedian and became well-known for his role as a school teacher who was so fervent that he ended up becoming the President in the comedy show “Servant of the people”. He took that passion with him and turned it into a real political campaign in 2018. In 2019, Zelensky took victory with a whopping 73% vote compared to Petri O.Poroshenko got only 24.5%. Zelensky is the country’s first Jewish leader and his inexperience in the political world seemed to work in his favor. 

Currently, that comedian turned President is facing war and invasion.

With that determination, Zelensky is out there to turn Russia into an isolated state. He was already promised weapons and ammunition by the West and in fact, the West seems to be deeply engaging in this proxy war, even though Ukraine is not a NATO member. Zelensky has downplayed the US’s warnings of invasion for weeks. However, nobody expected him to turn into someone who is displaying the very democratic values that hold a country together. His determination and unshakable values are what led the European Commission President Ursula Van der Leyen to say in an interview to Euronews on Sunday, “They are one of us and we want them in.”

Zelensky is creating history for himself, standing up to the invasion- putting his name alongside the Cold War dissidents like the Polish Solidarity leader Lech Walesa and 1956 executed leader of the Hungarian uprising against the Warsaw Pact, Imre Nagy. 

Already rejecting American offers of a safe exit, Zelensky said according to Ukraine’s embassy in Britain, “The fight is here. I need ammunition. Not a ride.”

In a statement on Sunday, Zelensky warned the rest of the world and, he is in a battle on behalf of worldwide democracy and freedom. He said, “Ukrainians have manifested the courage to defend their homeland and save Europe and its values from a Russian onslaught. This is not just Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This is the beginning of a war against Europe, against European structures, against democracy, against basic human rights, against a global order of law, rules, and peaceful coexistence.”

West leaders are saying that the sanctions will take time to take effect and inflict serious blows on Putin, the oligarchs, and the Russian people. From the looks of it, Ukraine may only have days left as an independent nation. However, Zelensky’s survival is turning the eye of the world and the Ukrainians’ resistance to subjugation. Zelensky’s plea and influence will be invaluable in global capitals and to the Ukrainian cause.

US authorities believe that Putin was not expecting the resistance he is seeing from the Ukrainians. Nor was he expecting that NATO would put up a united front. Zelensky signed an application for immediate membership in the European Union and has asked for a no-fly zone over Ukraine. 

The impact is already being felt by the Russian population and Putin met the advisors today and blamed the economic crisis on the West, saying that they are an “empire of lies”.