U.S. Filmmaker Helps Zelensky Stir Global Outrage With New Video: 'This WAS Kharkiv'

World News

Shortly after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy’s impassioned appeal to Congress and President Biden to establish a no-fly zone over the besieged country, his administration released a new video in its campaign to rally more international support in its battle with Russia.

Ukraine’s head of the presidential administration, Andriy Yermak, has passed along a video depicting the devastation in his country 21 days after the Russian invasion began. Yermak, who serves essentially as chief of staff to Zelensky, gave the video to American director-producer Aaron Kaufman, who was recently in Ukraine filming a documentary. Kaufman then provided the video to Rolling Stone.

The 58-second video is part of a sophisticated, multiplatform campaign to sway world opinion regarding Russia’s invasion. It was completed by the administration today, just ahead of Zelensky’s speech to Congress via Zoom, where he showed similar footage set to dramatic music.

In the new video, a female narrator speaks in English over images of destruction, including a bomb hitting the Sviatohirsk Cave Monastery, built in 1526. “Our national heritage is being exterminated,” the narrator says. The video also shows harrowing footage of a child on a stretcher, claiming that 2,357 civilians, including 90 children, have been killed in just one city — Mariupol — since the invasion began. “This is my country. My people. Right now,” the narrator continues.

Kaufman, a producer of such films as Machete Kills and the Vice docuseries Crusaders, about Jehovah’s Witnesses, was in Ukraine until Feb. 28 and met with Zelensky and his administration on Feb. 24, the day that the invasion began.


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