An unusual clip of Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky has surfaced that appears to show him intoxicated in his office.
Whatever the context of the clip, it does not appear to be a Russian fake. Ukraine’s defense ministry shared the video on its Twitter account Sunday.
“Drunk Zelensky” video surfaces
In the clip, Zelensky is alone in his office, speaking into the camera. His expressions and manner of speaking were flagged by some as signs of drunkenness.
Zelensky makes a fist at the end of a short speech, in a gesture of defiance. He then cracks a broad smile and points a single finger to stop recording. A Google translation of the strange tweet reads, “Everything will be Ukraine.”
While some found the clip bizarre, others suggested he could simply have been tired after leading his country in a war for nearly two months, Albawaba reported.
According to translations provided by Twitter users, Zelensky was sharing a message of resilience with Ukrainians.
“Evening everyone. It’s 52nd day. What can I say,we are strong. Working (shows documents). Loving (shows his family photo) Thanking (shows that Chicken figure) Taking pride (shows the flag) and we will defeat everyone,” tweeted one user who translated Zelensky’s comments.
— Defence of Ukraine (@DefenceU) April 17, 2022
Cracking down on dissent
Notably, Vladimir Putin has justified the Russian invasion of Ukraine in part by alleging that Ukraine’s government is led by corrupt “drug addicts” and Neo-Nazis. Zelensky is Jewish.
A former comedian, Zelensky has become a superstar in the West since Russia invaded in late February, with many having been inspired by his vigorous resistance to Russia’s invasion. But the leader has also taken controversial steps that have prompted criticism.
His repeated pleas for the West to join the conflict, which many fear would spark World War III, have faced pushback. Some have taken issue with his heated rhetoric, including a comparison between the Holocaust and Russia’s invasion that angered Israelis.
The Ukrainian leader has also taken flak over his recent decision to ban effectively all political opposition. Zelensky congratulated Ukraine’s secret police after they captured Zelensky’s top political rival on charges of treason.