Video of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Voicing Paddington Bear Goes Viral

A video of now President Volodymyr Zelensky voicing Paddington Bear in the Ukrainian version of the film has gone viral on social media.

The clip, posted onto Twitter by BBC economics editor Faisal Islam, showed scenes from the Ukrainian version of Paddington where Zelensky could be heard as the titular character.

Since being shared on Sunday, the video has gone on to be viewed more than 400,000 times and has been shared hundreds of times.

The revelation that the Ukrainian president lent his voice to the iconic Peruvian bear who gets into adventures after his arrival to the U.K. even caught one of the movie's cast members off guard.

Paddington actor Hugh Bonneville, who stars as Henry Brown, shared a tweet on Sunday, which read: "Until today I had no idea who provided the voice of @paddington in Ukraine. Speaking for myself, thank you, President Zelenskiy #PaddingtonBear."

Bonneville's tweet was liked more than 38,000 times and was retweeted on some 5,500 occasions.

In a follow-up tweet, Bonneville shared an image of Paddington wearing a blue jacket and yellow hat, alluding to the Ukrainian flag, sitting opposite an imposing bear—a widespread symbol for Russia.

According to IMDB, Paddington was released in Ukraine in January 2015, several years before Zelensky became president on May 20, 2019.

While Zelensky has won admiration from abroad over his leadership during the ongoing Russian invasion, the president was already well known in Ukraine as an actor.

In an ironic turn, Zelensky was propelled to the presidency after he starred in the satirical TV show Servant of the People.

The series is about a teacher, played by Zelensky, who becomes Ukraine's president after his anti-corruption rant goes viral.

After Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine last week, Zelensky has taken to social media to lead the country's resistance.

He used social media to deny rumors he had fled Ukraine and posted a video of himself in Kyiv last week where he said: "We are here. We are defending Ukraine."

Many Ukrainian politicians have rallied to take up arms and defend their country, including Zelensky's political rival and former President Petro Poroshenko.

Poroshenko wielded an AK-47 and said in a CNN interview that he would be fighting in the streets of Kyiv.

Oleksiy Honcharenko, a member of the Ukrainian parliament, told CNN that he had decided to stand and fight as well.

He told the network: "I am not a professional soldier at all, but I can try and I can do my best and I will do it if Russian forces enter Kyiv."

Split of Volodymyr Zelensky and Paddington Bear
Split image of Volodymyr Zelensky and Paddington Bear. Zelensky provided the voice of the iconic bear in the Ukrainian version of the film. Getty