Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky is the voice of Paddington

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, following crisis talks with Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier this month.  Picture: PA
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, following crisis talks with Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier this month. Picture: PA

It emerged today Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky voiced Paddington Bear during his previous career as an actor and comedian.

Prior to assuming office in May 2019, President Zelensky was a political unknown, better recognised for his role in the television series Servant of the People playing teacher Vasiliy Petrovych Goloborodko, who accidentally becomes president.

In an extreme case of life imitating art, the 44-year-old did rise to the highest office just four years after the show aired.

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Ukrainian Paddington voiced by President Zelensky

As it emerged on social media this evening that President Zelensky is in fact the Ukrainian voice of Paddington Bear, people began drawing poignant comparisons with the duffle-coated character and the refugee crisis in the country.

Since Russia launched attacks on Ukraine, 368,000 people have fled the country, according to the UN refugee agency, while in the much-loved children’s story, Paddington arrives in London seeking refuge from his home in Darkest Peru.

Actor Hugh Bonneville, who played Mr Brown in the Paddington films tweeted a message, thanking the President, alongside a video showing the dubbed version.

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President Zelensky gained worldwide recognition following the Russian invasion, remaining steadfast in the face of military attacks and staying in the capital Kyiv to boost the morale of Ukrainian fighters even as Russian troops close in on the city.