He was a working actor who often played the part of a funny man. Now, as his home country continues to be pummeled by Putin in an ongoing, large-scale invasion that's rocked the world, the role he plays as president of Ukraine is anything but. 

From comedian to international hero, who exactly is Volodymyr Zelenskyy?

Fox News' Brian Kilmeade finds out in the newest Fox Nation special.

"His story is as improbable as it is inspirational," said Kilmeade. "You might even say it's more the stuff of a screenplay than a history book – and that's actually not so far off."

"Strong doesn't mean big. Strong is brave and ready to fight for the lives of his citizens and citizens of the world."

— Volodymyr Zelenskyy in his address to U.S. Congress on March 16

The first time most of the world heard about Volodymyr Zelenskyy, he was president of a country under siege who was told that Ukraine stood no chance against Vladimir Putin's army. 

Four weeks later, Zelenskyy and his countrymen are still hanging on despite a brutal assault that's targeted civilians, including hospitals, apartment complexes and shelters. 

Also in the crosshairs is the 44-year-old Ukrainian president, a man who is no doubt meeting his moment in history — and who is meeting it with grace.

Hailing from the "not very developed" city of Kryvyi Rih in 1970s Ukraine — what was then called the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic — Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelenskyy was born to Jewish parents, whose several relatives had perished in the Holocaust.


Zelenskyy met and ultimately married his high school sweetheart-turned-screenwriter, with whom he eventually had two children. He'd enrolled in law school, but, as the special explores, that wasn't meant to be his life's work.

In 2003, Zelenskyy's career as an actor and comedian took off — and, though based in Moscow, he found himself touring with his troupe through all the post-Soviet countries. 

Three years later, in 2006, Zelenskyy's popularity heightened when he won his country's version of Dancing with the Stars, making him a household name throughout Eastern Europe.

But it wasn't until 2012 when a new collaboration set the stage for his biggest role yet: as the fictional Ukrainian president on the show Servant of the People.

Zelenskyy address

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks to the U.S. Congress by video to plead for support as his country is besieged by Russian forces, at the Capitol in Washington (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool)

Today, Zelenskyy's role as the very real president of a war-torn country is an essential one, with many world leaders praising his courage throughout what has been a most harrowing and devastating time. 


On February 24, Vladimir Putin launched a large-scale invasion into Ukraine; in the almost month since, his reign of terror has meant countless deaths and considerable destruction throughout the country — all with no end in sight. But Ukrainians have fought tooth and nail at every turn and twist, together precluding Putin from achieving the swift takeover victory he wrongly anticipated.

At the onset of the invasion, the U.S. offered to extrapolate Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his family to safety; the president, however, rejected the offer, insisting on staying with his fellow Ukrainian citizens, and now famously saying, "I need ammunition; not a ride."

Ukrainian emergency employees and volunteers

Ukrainian emergency employees and volunteers carry an injured pregnant woman from the damaged by shelling maternity hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine,  (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

"Strong doesn't mean big," said Zelenskyy, as featured in the special. "Strong is brave and ready to fight for the lives of his citizens and citizens of the world."

As Fox Nation explores, Volodymyr Zelenskyy might be many things — but, primary among them, he is, no doubt, strong.

To learn more about the Ukraine President as Russia's assault rages on, subscribe to Fox Nation today and stream Brian Kilmeade's "Who is Volodymyr Zelenskyy?

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