A fleece jacket worn and signed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky sold for £90,000, or around $111,000, at a fundraiser for Ukraine in London on Thursday.
“Today, the whole word looks up to a man wearing a simple fleece jacket,” the Ukrainian Embassy to the United Kingdom said in a video posted on Twitter that included footage of Zelensky wearing the jacket. “And now the iconic item, personally signed by President Zelensky, is here.”
The goal of the event was to “tell the stories of (Ukrainian) bravery which became iconic during the war, as well as to raise funds to support this bravery,” according to a tweet from the embassy.
After months of military buildup, Russia launched an assault on Ukraine in late February, sparking geopolitical turmoil and a refugee crisis. More than 3,000 civilians have been killed in the conflict, according to the latest estimate by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The “Brave Ukraine” fundraiser, which included toys donated by Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska and photographs by late photographer Max Levine as well as Zelensky’s jacket, was hosted by the Ukrainian Embassy in London at the Tate Modern art gallery. The event raised over $1 million for “With Ukraine,” the embassy’s official fundraising effort. Most of the funds will go toward the reequipment of the Western Ukrainian Specialized Children’s Medical Center, said the embassy.
In a speech at the fundraiser, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson commended Zelensky’s leadership after the Ukrainian president addressed attendees via video call.
“What an honor to speak after my friend Volodymyr Zelenskyy, truly one of the most incredible leaders of modern times,” he said, according to a transcript from the British government.
Johnson also called for “much higher bids” on the initial starting bid of £50,000, or around $61,000, for Zelensky’s fleece.
He criticized Russia for “laying waste to cities in Ukraine” and praised the bravery of the Ukrainian people.
“That is why I’m more certain than ever that Ukraine will win,” Johnson said. “Ukraine will be free, and a sovereign Ukraine will rise again.”