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Just a few weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year, ABC World News Tonight anchor David Muir was the first American correspondent to interview the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky.
Six months later, the war in Ukraine drags on, with Ukraine having defended Kyiv, and now weighing a counteroffensive in the East. Meanwhile, what had been wall-to-wall coverage in the U.S. has slowed to a trickle.
So Muir thought that it was time to bring what was happening in the country back to the forefront. Over what was Labor Day weekend in the U.S., the ABC anchor returned to Ukraine for an interview with Zelensky.
“It is impossible to truly understand the scope of this war, the atrocities committed, without spending time with Ukrainian families here and witnessing their sadness, their fear, and their enduring strength first hand,” Muir tells The Hollywood Reporter. “Much of their strength is drawn from their leader… whose fight to defend and protect their fragile democracy, has captivated the world.”
But Zelensky has proven himself to be a savvy political operator, one fully aware of the power of news media and pop culture. He gave virtual speeches to the Venice Film Festival, the Cannes Film Festival, and the Grammy Awards, and has welcomed celebrities like Ben Stiller to the country to raise awareness.
Ans of course he makes time for interviews with media outlets from around the world, trying to keep Ukraine in the spotlight.
“When you spend time with President Zelensky you immediately recognize this is a man determined to use every tool at hand to keep the U.S. and the West engaged, if Ukraine is to prevail in this war,” Muir says. “He knows his own life is in danger, and he told me, ‘We don’t want to feel alone. And with the U.S., we are not alone.’ It’s been striking to spend time with this leader, perhaps a most-unlikely war-time President, in the darkened hallways of the presidential building turned bunker in Kyiv, as he rises to this moment in history.”
Muir’s interview with Zelensky is set to air Monday night on ABC World News Tonight, and he will also report on alleged war crimes from the town of Bucha on Nightline Tuesday.
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