Volodymyr Zelensky Fast Facts

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a video address in Kyiv, Ukraine on March 16, 2022. Photo by Ukraine Presidential Press Service via ABACA
CNN  — 

Here’s some background information about the life of Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine.

Personal:

Birth date: January 25, 1978

Birth place: Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine

Birth name: Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelensky

Father: Oleksandr Zelensky, computer science professor

Mother: Rimma Zelenska, engineer

Marriage: Olena (Kiyashko) Zelenska (2003-present)

Children: Oleksandra and Kyrylo

Education: Kyiv National Economic University, law, 2000

Religion: Jewish

Other Facts:

Former comedian, actor, writer and producer.

Best known for starring in the television series “Servant of the People.” He played a destitute schoolteacher who unexpectedly becomes president of Ukraine after video of his anti-corruption rant goes viral.

03:05 - Source: CNN
Zelensky's unorthodox path to leading and inspiring Ukraine

Timeline:

1990s - Forms a comedy troupe with college friends called Kvartal 95. The group gains prominence performing in comedy competitions, and eventually starts a popular live sketch television show, “Evening Kvartal.”

2003 - Co-founds an entertainment production company, Kvartal 95 Studio.

2009 - In his feature film debut, Zelensky co-writes and stars in the romantic comedy “No Love in the City.”

November 16, 2015 - “Servant of the People” premieres.

2018 - Kvartal 95 Studio officially registers Servant of the People as a political party.

December 31, 2018 - Announces his candidacy in the 2019 presidential election.

April 21, 2019 - Zelensky is elected president, defeating incumbent Petro Poroshenko with 73.22% of the vote.

May 20, 2019 - Sworn in as the 6th president of Ukraine. In his inaugural address, Zelensky dissolves the current Ukrainian parliament and orders a parliamentary election. He also announces his intention to achieve a ceasefire in Donbas, a region in eastern Ukraine which is the site of hostilities between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces.

July 2019 - Zelensky’s Servant of the People party wins an outright majority in parliamentary elections.

July 25, 2019 - Phone call with US President Donald Trump, during which Trump presses Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

September 25, 2019 - Zelensky meets Trump on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. During a joint press conference, Zelensky says he does not want to become involved in American politics, and he stresses that he did not feel pressured by Trump during the July phone call.

October 1, 2019 - Zelensky agrees to hold a local election in eastern Ukraine, signing accords with Russia, European monitors and separatists from the region. The agreement could pave the way for peace talks between Zelensky, Russian President Vladimir Putin and European leaders. Ukrainian nationalists protest the agreement, describing it as a capitulation to Russia.

December 9, 2019 - Attends the Normandy summit peace talks in Paris, marking Zelensky’s first meeting with Putin. Ukraine and Russia agree to a new prisoner swap and a ceasefire before the end of the year. Zelensky calls the results of the talks “a draw.”

March 4, 2020 - Zelensky replaces the country’s prime minister, saying he hopes the new PM will “do the impossible.” Ukraine’s Parliament approves Denis Shmygal as the new PM, after accepting the resignation of Oleksiy Honcharuk at an extraordinary session of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament

September 1, 2021 - Zelensky meets with President Joe Biden in his first visit to the White House. A joint statement issued by the two countries affirms the US commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty.

November 26, 2021 - Zelensky claims a group of Ukrainians and Russians is planning to carry out a coup against him.

January 27, 2022 - Amid a buildup of Russian troops at the Ukrainian border, Biden and Zelensky hold a phone call in which Biden warns that a Russian attack may be imminent. Zelensky tells reporters the following day that world leaders have been overstating the likelihood of war between Ukraine and Russia.

February 19, 2022 - Zelensky delivers a speech at the Munich Security Conference asking for new security guarantees and preemptive sanctions on Russia prior to any invasion.

February 24, 2022 - Russian military forces enter Ukraine and begin a full-scale assault across airfields, military headquarters, major cities and ports. Zelensky introduces martial law and urges calm, saying, “We are strong. We are ready for everything. We will win over everybody because we are Ukraine.”

March 16, 2022 - Delivers a virtual address to the US Congress from Kyiv in the midst of the Russian invasion. Zelensky invokes Pearl Harbor and September 11 to make an appeal for a no-fly zone, additional sanctions and continued assistance.

April 3, 2022 - After reports of alleged Russian atrocities in the town of Bucha near Kyiv, Zelensky calls for an end of Russian “war crimes.” In his address, Zelensky announces a “mechanism of justice” will be established to investigate crimes committed by Russian soldiers in Ukrainian territory.