Ukraine war in photos: Commander in chief – Grid News
Ukraine war in photos: Commander in chief

They were six words that galvanized a nation and millions of people the world over: ”I need ammunition, not a ride.” So said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in response to an American offer of evacuation in the early days of the war. Later, questions were raised as to whether Zelenskyy had actually used those words, but in retrospect it almost doesn’t matter; there are now memes and T-shirts that use the phrase, and — more important — Zelenskyy himself has evolved in almost Shakespearean fashion, from comic actor and unpopular president to wartime leader who draws comparisons to Winston Churchill.

If battlefield strategy is a commander in chief’s primary concern, a close second is strategic communications, and here Zelenskyy may have no peer. This collection of photos is a reminder of how the Ukrainian leader has used his own gifts and the tools of traditional and social media to push his country’s message and bolster the spirits of his people.

Even in these few images, it’s hard not to wonder how the war might have gone had Zelenskyy chosen instead to take that ride two and a half months ago.

KYIV, UKRAINE - MARCH 17: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY â MANDATORY CREDIT - "UKRAINIAN PRESIDENCY / HANDOUT" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pays visit to civilians wounded during Russian attacks as they receive treatment at a hospital in Kyiv, Ukraine on March 17, 2022. (Photo by Ukrainian Presidency / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
KYIV, UKRAINE - MARCH 13: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY â MANDATORY CREDIT - "UKRAINIAN PRESIDENCY / HANDOUT" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelenskiy takes a photo with a wounded soldier by Russian attacks on Ukraine during his hospital visit in Kyiv, Ukraine on March 13, 2022. (Photo by Ukrainian Presidency/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
KYIV, UKRAINE - MARCH 13: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY â MANDATORY CREDIT - "UKRAINIAN PRESIDENCY / HANDOUT" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelenskiy visits wounded soldiers by Russian attacks on Ukraine at hospital in Kyiv, Ukraine on March 13, 2022. (Photo by Ukrainian Presidency/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
KYIV, UKRAINE - APRIL 30:  Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky meets U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi during a visit by a U.S. congressional delegation on April 30, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine. The US Speaker of the House led a congressional delegation, which included (left to right) Rep. Jim McGovern, Rep. Gregory Meeks and Rep. Adam Schiff, on a secret meeting with the Ukrainian president that was announced the next day, as they left the country for nearby Poland. (Photo by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office/Handout via Getty Images)
KYIV, UKRAINE - MARCH 8: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY â MANDATORY CREDIT - "UKRAINIAN PRESIDENCY / HANDOUT" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is seen at a street in Kyiv, Ukraine on March 08, 2022. (Photo by Ukrainian Presidency/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
  • Tom Nagorski
    Tom Nagorski

    Global Editor

    Tom Nagorski is the global editor at Grid, where he oversees our coverage of global security, U.S.-China relations, migration trends, global economics and U.S. foreign policy.

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    Jackie Padilla

    Video Producer

    Jackie Padilla is a journalist and video producer for Grid leading the social video team and studio production.

  • Jake Garcia
    Jake Garcia

    Associate Producer, Multimedia