Zelensky's Defiance Against Putin Praised: 'This Is What Courage Looks Like'

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been praised for his courage after delivering a defiant message to Russia's Vladimir Putin.

In the first public appearance in his Kyiv office since the start of Russia's invasion, the actor turned wartime leader pledged to beat back Russian forces and rebuild his country.

In the video message on Monday night, Zelensky—who has reportedly survived numerous assassination attempts in recent days—also told his people that he would stay in the capital.

"I'm not hiding," he said. "And I'm not afraid of anyone. As much as it takes to win this patriotic war of ours."

Zelensky's latest video was met with praise on social media, with Steve Schmidt noting that "this is what courage looks like."

Schmidt, a GOP strategist who co-founded the Lincoln Project, wrote on Twitter: "Be Not Afraid is the most powerful message a leader in a life and death struggle can deliver. Zelensky has earned the rarest and most precious of commodities, Trust. This man isn't a legend. He is real. This is what courage looks like. This is what defiance looks like."

Adam Parkhomenko, who is Ukrainian-American, shared the clip and wrote: "Zelensky is actually everything Putin thinks Putin is that Putin isn't."

BuzzFeed News correspondent Christopher Miller also shared the clip, tweeting: "Day 12 of Russia's full-on invasion of Ukraine. Where's President Zelensky? 'I'm staying in Kyiv. In my office. I'm not hiding. And I'm not afraid of anyone.' The comic turned president has truly become a wartime leader."

Elizabeth Vargas wrote: "As I watch President Zelensky speak to the world on TV today, back in his office no less, I continue to be in awe of his unbelievable courage, but I also have a bit of dread about what will happen to him in the coming days..."

Marcel Dirsus, a political scientist, wrote: "Zelensky is quite literally risking his life every time he uploads another video. I don't know whether he has accepted his fate or is simply incredibly brave but either way, he's probably the most inspiring political leader in the world right now."

And in an appearance on CNN, James Clapper, the former former director of national intelligence, told Wolf Blitzer: "Who would have thought that someone of his professional background as a actor, comedian would rise to the occasion as he has?

"It's almost like he's in the information sphere, poking Putin in the eye, almost daring him and he's obviously been a tremendous inspiration to his own people."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks at a press conference for selected media at his official residence the Maryinsky Palace on March 3, 2022, in Kyiv. Laurent Van der Stockt/Le Monde/Getty Images