Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his wife Olen Zelenska’s decision to sit down for a Vogue photoshoot has divided the internet.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his wife Olena Zelenska have raised eyebrows after appearing in a glossy photoshoot for US Vogue.
The pair were pictured together for the piece by renowned photographer Annie Leibowitz – although the article primarily focused on Zelenska, 44.
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 in aid to Ukraine to help its war effort against Russia.
Republican Congresswoman 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.’
The article was written by Paris-based journalist Rachel Donadio. On Twitter, Donadio referred to the piece as: ‘One of the most moving and memorable assignments of my career.’
In the piece, Zelensky and his wife are shown together inside of their compound in Mariinsky Palace on the outskirts of Kyiv.
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.’
See reactions below:
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.’
According to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, more than 12,000 people have been killed in Ukraine since the start of the invasion. Millions more have been displaced.