Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky has emerged over the past year as one of the more heroic figures in recent memory. He has kept his country together in the face of an invasion from Russia, and shown the entire world that his country was far more resilient than many expected it to be.
During a recent visit to Washington, D.C., Zelensky was seen sporting his usual green shirt and cargo pants, leading some to wonder why he is always dressed in the color.
Why does Zelensky wear green?
Since the earliest days of the war, Zelensky, who was a TV star before being elected to the presidency, has made a point of dressing down. He doesn't wear suits during public appearances, and he's often seen in green crew necks and tees. While this may suggest to some that he isn't focused at all on what he's wearing, many understand the hidden significance beneath the president's wardrobe choices.
In fact, Zelensky is wearing green to reflect the state of his country. His nation has been invaded, and both the trained military and regular citizens have taken up arms to defend it. In a show of solidarity, Zelensky has chosen to dress like a soldier himself, wearing the kinds of garments you might find under tactical gear, as if to suggest that he is appreciative and supportive of all those who have put their lives on the line.
"The T-shirt is a reminder of Mr. Zelensky’s origins as a regular guy; a connection between him and the citizen-soldiers fighting on the streets; a sign he shares their hardship," New York Times critic Vanessa Friedman wrote in March, when the war in Ukraine was just a month old. Even on his visit to the US, Zelensky remained committed to the same aesthetic.
Zelensky appealed to the U.S. for continued support.
Although Zelensky's dress may have garnered some attention during his trip, especially because it stood in such sharp contrast to the blazers and suits that he was surrounded by, his speech was also a moment for him to appeal to the U.S. for the country's continued support in the conflict.
“In two days we will celebrate Christmas. Maybe candlelit. Not because it’s more romantic, no, but because there will not be — there will be no electricity,” he said during the speech, reminding his American audience that Russia has made an effort to cut Ukraine off from all forms of power.
“The battle is not only for life, freedom, and security of Ukrainians or any other nation which Russia attempts to conquer,” he said, appealing to those who may wonder why Americans are funding a conflict that is so far from our shores. “The struggle will define in what world our children and grandchildren will live in.”
“Your money is not charity," he added. "It’s an investment in the global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way.”