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Tom Cruise meets Ukraine's president caught in U.S. impeachment scandal

At the meeting, the Ukrainian leader shook Cruise's hand, pointing out that he was "good-looking," to which Cruise replied, "It pays the rent."

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy may be a central character in the U.S. impeachment scandal, but this week the former comedian was back in his comfort zone as he met actor Tom Cruise.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the president's press office said Cruise, who arrived in Kyiv on Zelenskiy's invitation, was interested in filming one of his new movies in the country.

Zelenskiy was a successful media producer, comedian and actor before he ventured into politics. He has also previously played Ukrainian president on television.

Image: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and American actor, film director and producer Tom Cruise talk to each other during their meeting in Kyiv
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and American actor Tom Cruise met in Kyiv on Monday.Ukrainian Presidential Press Office

At the meeting Monday, the Ukrainian leader shook Cruise's hand, pointing out that he was "good-looking," to which Cruise replied, "It pays the rent."

“The President of Ukraine told the guest about his own experience in cinema,” his office added.

Zelenskiy also pointed out that a recently passed law on subsidies for foreign filmmakers in Ukraine is meant to attract investment in the country’s economy.

“I am happy that Ukraine is starting to attract world-class stars," the president said on his Facebook page next to a photo with a smiling Cruise.

A transcript of Zelenskiy’s July phone call with President Donald Trump released last week suggested the U.S. president tried to seek the Ukrainian leader’s help to investigate a political rival, leading to the impeachment inquiry.

Since his election, Zelenskiy has been meeting with the world's political leaders, trying to build goodwill and support for his country, which is still grappling with the war in the east and rampant corruption.

He met with Trump on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York last week amidst controversy surrounding their phone call.

Zelenskiy has denied being pressured by Trump, reiterating Monday that he will not “follow any commands."

His meeting with Cruise is not the first time that Zelenskiy entertained Hollywood stars.

The president has previously shared photos of his meetings with American actors Mila Kunis, who hails from Ukraine, and her husband Ashton Kutcher, as well as actress Robin Wright and Chernobyl TV series producer Craig Mazin.