Ukraine’s Jewish president: We should be like ‘Israel in defending our land’
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Ukraine’s Jewish president: We should be like ‘Israel in defending our land’

Volodymyr Zelenskiy makes rallying call to oppose Russia more robustly, in speech after taking oath of office as new head of state

Volodymyr Zelensky, elected president of Ukraine in in 2019 (Credot: Kvartal95 official/ Wikipedia)
Volodymyr Zelensky, elected president of Ukraine in in 2019 (Credot: Kvartal95 official/ Wikipedia)

The Jewish TV comic who became Ukraine’s president last month has told his compatriots to be “more like Israel” when it comes to fighting Russia.

In a speech after taking the oath of office, Volodymyr Zelenskiy dissolved the country’s parliament and ordered new elections, saying his first task as president was to resolve the conflict with Russia in Ukraine’s eastern regions.

Zelenskiy played the part of Ukrainian president in his TV comedy show before life imitated art and the Ukrainian people voted him in by a landslide in April, winning 73.5 percent of the vote compared to 26.5 percent for incumbent Petro Poroshenko.

Outlining his vision for the country, Zelenskiy said: “We must become Icelanders in football, Israelis in defending our native land, Japanese in technology, Swiss in our ability to live happily with each other, despite any differences”.

During his presidential campaign, he said his primary task was to tackle rampant and systemic corruption and this week urged the parliament to pass a law that would strip politicians of immunity. He also wants military purchases to become transparent.

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