Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his wife Olena Zelenska have raised eyebrows after appearing in a glossy photoshoot for US Vogue.
The pair were photographed together for the piece by famed photographer Annie Leibowitz — though the article focused primarily on Zelenska, 44.
It is titled: ‘Portrait of Bravery: Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska.’
Following the publication of the piece, conservative pundits and politicians took the photo shoot as proof that the United States should not have sent $40 billion in aid to Ukraine to aid its war effort against Russia.
Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert tweeted a photo of Zelensky and Zelenska together saying, “As we send Ukraine $60 billion in aid, Zelensky does photo shoots for Vogue Magazine. These people think we’re nothing but a bunch of suckers.’
Ukraine’s first couple photographed together by Annie Leibowitz for a special digital edition of Vogue
A video released from the photo shoot showed President Zelensky laughing with Vogue staff
More than 12,000 people have been killed in Ukraine since the invasion began, according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Millions more are displaced
Zelenska told Vogue: ‘These are the most terrible months of my life and the life of every Ukrainian’
Conservative activist Scott Presler tweeted: “Why did we send $54 billion to Ukraine so Zelensky and his wife could pose for Vogue? You’re at war and you have time for photo shoots?’
Texas Congresswoman Mayra Flores tweeted: ‘Biden: Let’s keep sending billions of dollars in foreign aid to Ukraine, they need it!’ She added: “Reality: The Zelensky family is honoring us with a photo shoot to be on the cover of Vogue magazine.”
There is no evidence to suggest that the $60 billion the Biden administration gave to Ukraine was used to pay for the photo shoot.
On the other side of the debate, Verizon CEO Tami Erwin tweeted support for the piece.
Erwin said: ‘An excellent profile. Olena Zelenska has done an incredible job of representing her people, making sure the world knows the story of women and children in Ukraine – and continuing to give a voice to the many in need.”
Pro-Ukrainian activist Val Voschevska posted an analysis of the photo shoot on Instagram, writing in part: “She is who she is and I love it. She looks like all of us after a long day at the office – the only difference is that her job is to protect her country from war.”
While a Ukrainian citizen wrote in the comment section below a photo of the couple on Vogue’s official Instagram: “Thank you Vogue for raising awareness of Ukraine through the voices of real Ukrainians.”
The article was written by Paris-based journalist Rachel Donadio. On Twitter, Donadio called the piece “One of the most moving and memorable assignments of my career.”
More than 12,000 people have been killed in Ukraine since the invasion began, according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Millions more are displaced.
The pair are shown together in their compound in the Mariinsky Palace on the outskirts of Kiev.
Rep. Lauren Boebert was one of those who was highly critical of the play
A Twitter user went viral when she advised Zelensky and his wife to ‘Read the room’
There is no evidence to suggest that the aid the Biden administration sent to Ukraine has anything to do with the Vogue piece
In one photo, Zelenska is depicted next to the crashed remains of the world’s largest aircraft, the Antonov AN-225. The cargo plane was sabotaged at an airport in Kiev in February by Russian agents.
Zelenska told Vogue: “These are the most horrible months of my life and the life of every Ukrainian.”
She continued: “Honestly, I don’t think anyone is aware of how we made it emotionally. We look forward to the win. We have no doubt that we will prevail. And this keeps us going.’
The former comedy writer also said, “I like being backstage — it suited me. Getting into the spotlight was quite difficult for me.’
The publication of the piece has also sparked support from some social media circles
Many users have pointed to the idea that Zelensky and Zelenska use Vogue to keep reminding people of the plight of Ukraine
One of the most prominent proponents of the piece was Verizon executive Tami Erwin
A Twitter user said this image of Zelensky and Zelenska together was ‘iconic’
Last week, Zelenska flew to Washington DC to meet President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden.
When asked what it was like to know that Russia is watching her family’s movements, Zelenska said: “I can’t think too seriously about it, because otherwise I would become paranoid.”
In the piece, Zelenska explained what she did in the early weeks of the war, trying to take her mind off the conflict by helping her children with their online schooling and rereading George Orwell’s dystopian novel ‘1984’. .
She said of the book: ‘It’s a terrible coincidence. It is a picture of what is happening in Russia today.’
The Ukrainian president said in the interview about his wife: ‘Of course she is my love. But she’s my best friend. She is also a patriot and she loves Ukraine very much. It’s true. And she’s an excellent mother.’
The couple also recently sat down for an interview with Piers Morgan.
The Ukrainian president told his wife: ‘When you talk, your opinion takes precedence. What I would say is I have no other experience. I only have one wife and I am happy. I have one wife, one love and one family. I never felt like there was anything wrong with us in or in our relationship. Or do you sometimes feel unhappy with me?’ the Daily Telegraph.
Zelensky continued, “The war makes our relationship stronger, that’s for sure.”