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Videos of Ukrainian President Zelenskyy in 'Dancing with the Stars' and 'Paddington' go viral

Zelenskyy, who is being praised for standing up for Ukraine as Russia invades, was previously an actor and comedian.
Image: Volodymyr Zelensky
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at an armed forces Full Honor Wreath Ceremony on Sept. 1 at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va.Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images file

Videos of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's days in the entertainment industry went viral over the weekend as people around the world praise him for leading the country amid Russia’s invasion.

Before he was elected president, Zelenskyy had a prolific career as an entertainer, starring in several Ukrainian films and TV series, including the popular political satire comedy "Servant of the People," which ended in 2019 — the year Zelenskyy launched and won his presidential campaign.

As many on social media pointed out, Zelenskyy also won the Ukrainian version of “Dancing with the Stars” in 2006 and voiced the bear in Ukraine’s version of the “Paddington” film.

A spokesperson for StudioCanal, which produced "Paddington," confirmed that Zelenskyy was the voice behind the bear in a statement Monday.

The news came as a surprise to many people on social media, including the actor Hugh Bonneville, who played the bear’s foster parent in “Paddington.”

"Until today I had no idea who provided the voice of @paddingtonbear in Ukraine," Bonneville tweeted Sunday. "Speaking for myself, thank you, President Zelenskiy. #PaddingtonBear."

Another person tweeted a promotional video of "Paddington 2" featuring Zelenskyy, with the caption: "I was today years old when I learned that President Zalenskyy voices Paddington in Ukrainian."

Others online expressed delight watching Zelenskyy perform on the first season of Ukraine's "Dancing with the Stars."

"so apparently Zelenskyy won the Ukrainian version of Dancing with the Stars in 2006 and the tape is even better than whatever you’re imagining," one person tweeted.

Peace talks between Russia and Ukraine concluded Monday without a breakthrough as explosions were reported near Kyiv and in Ukraine’s second-largest city.