The Russian Invasion Begins

Rob SzypkoRachelle BonjaChelsea Daniel and

Patricia Willens and


Since the start of the war in Ukraine, no single figure has antagonized President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia as effectively or persistently as President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.

Mr. Zelensky’s defiant videos and speeches have inspired the West into action and, by his own account, made him a target for Russian assassins.

Before his life in politics, Mr. Zelensky was the star of a sitcom, “Servant of the People,” in which he played a Ukrainian president — a show that was also popular in Russia.

What is it about him and his rise to power that poses such a unique threat to Mr. Putin?


Anton Troianovski, the Moscow bureau chief for The New York Times.

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine during a press conference in Kyiv last week.
Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

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Anton Troianovski contributed reporting.

Special thanks to Daniel Fridman.

The Daily is made by Lisa Tobin, Rachel Quester, Lynsea Garrison, Clare Toeniskoetter, Paige Cowett, Michael Simon Johnson, Brad Fisher, Larissa Anderson, Chris Wood, Jessica Cheung, Stella Tan, Alexandra Leigh Young, Lisa Chow, Eric Krupke, Marc Georges, Luke Vander Ploeg, M.J. Davis Lin, Austin Mitchell, Dan Powell, Dave Shaw, Sydney Harper, Daniel Guillemette, Robert Jimison, Mike Benoist, Liz O. Baylen, Asthaa Chaturvedi, Kaitlin Roberts, Rachelle Bonja, Diana Nguyen, Marion Lozano, Corey Schreppel, Anita Badejo, Rob Szypko, Elisheba Ittoop, Chelsea Daniel, Mooj Zadie, Patricia Willens and Rowan Niemisto.

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