Australian television presenter Todd Sampson has contrasted Scott Morrison holidaying in Hawaii during bushfires with the Ukrainian president fighting alongside his troops in Kyiv.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy has repeatedly refused Western offers to evacuate him, and instead vowed to defend the capital with his soldiers.
Sampson shared side-by-side photos of President Zelenskyy in body armour and Mr Morrison lounging by a pool at his Hawaii trip in December 2019 during Australia’s Black Summer bushfires that killed 33 people.
‘One of these things is not like the other,’ the advertising executive tweeted.
President Zelenskyy, an ex-comedian with no political experience before his landslide victory in 2019, has been widely praised for staying to fight instead of leaving.
Australian media personality Todd Sampson sparked heated debate online after comparing Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to Scott Morrison
Some social media users agreed with Sampson (pictured) while others accused the Gruen panellist of pushing a political agenda
But some felt the contrast between the two men was unfair given the vastly different contexts of each situation.
‘You seriously comparing a fire to a war? FFS,’ one person wrote.
‘One of these countries is being invaded, one is not. I don’t particularly like the way Scott Morrison has lead the country this tenure but this is a ridiculous post,’ another said.
Others agreed with Sampson, with many bringing up the prime minister’s infamous response to the Hawaii-holiday backlash that it was not his job to ‘hold a hose’.
‘That’s easy, one stands up and leads and the other sits down?’ one person replied to Sampson.
‘One doesn’t hold a hose, the other holds a gun,’ another added.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visits positions of armed forces near the frontline with Russian-backed separatists in Donbass region last year
Scott Morrison was widely criticised after leaving Australia (pictured) while it was in the grips of one of its most devastating bushfire seasons
‘They’re both photos of leaders during their respective country’s national crisis, why can’t they be compared? If Australia got invaded, Morrison would 100% do the same thing,’ a fourth wrote.
Another woman shared a photo of former prime minister Kevin Rudd helping Aussies carry out belongings from their flood-filled properties in Queensland.
‘I live in southeast Queensland, where so many homes, businesses are underwater. The forecast is worse than 2011 floods,’ she wrote.
‘This is Rudd in 2011 when he was PM, helping people move stuff out of their homes.’
Meanwhile, some people accused Sampson of using the unfortunate situation in Ukraine to ‘push a political agenda’.
Some social media users said the comparison was unfair given the very different contexts of the photos
Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, posted a video message early on Thursday and urged Ukrainians to stay at home, and remain calm, telling them to have faith in their country
On Friday, President Zelenskyy shared a video of himself in Kyiv to shoot down rumours he had fled the country, and claimed he was is ‘target number one’ for Russian assassins, while his wife and children were ‘number two’.
The 44-year-old later is being hunted by Putin’s attack dog army of special forces with a list of Ukrainian officials to capture or kill having been given the same task in Crimea, Syria, and Chechnya in recent years.
His wife Olena, 44, and two children, aged 17 and nine, are also in hiding – but still in the country – amid fears the Kremlin wants to wipe out or imprison Ukraine’s entire political class.
President Zelenskyy later shared footage of himself and other senior members of his party walking the streets of Kyiv as they prepared to fight Russian troops.
A Ukrainian soldier runs holding his weapon outside a military facility, in Kyiv, Ukraine, February 26, 2022
An explosion is seen in the early hours of Thursday in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv
US President Joe Biden offered to evacuate the Ukrainian President out of his country to safety, but he declined, arguing he needed to stay and protect his land and people, responding: ‘I need ammunition, not a ride’.
President Zelenskyy said Ukrainian troops held off an invasion of Kyiv overnight as Russian forces renewed their assault under the cover of darkness, pounding the capital with artillery and cruise missiles.
‘We will fight as long as it takes to liberate the country,’ President Zelenskyy said in an video address on Saturday night.
He said a baby girl was born Saturday night in the Kyiv subway tunnels, which are being used as a bomb shelter.
‘If children are born in shelters, even when the shelling continues, then the enemy has no chance,’ he said. ‘To Victory! Glory to Ukraine!’
Air raid sirens and heavy weapons fire reverberated through the city, as Ukrainian soldiers and civilian volunteers dug in to repel warmonger Vladimir Putin’s forces.
A fragment of a destroyed Russian tank is seen on the roadside on the outskirts of Kharkiv on February 26, 2022
Dramatic video shows a destroyed Russian convoy with Z-markings near Kherson in southern Ukraine
President Zelenskyy has pledged to ‘destroy the occupiers’ and the residents of Kyiv appear to have fully mobilized for a fight to the death.
As they hunkered down in air raid shelters, teams of civilians worked through the night making Molotov cocktails to use against the Russian forces.
Despite holding inferior military power, Ukraine has put up an incredible fight against Russia, with experts saying the bigger nation will run out of cash and arms if Kyiv holds out for 10 days after countrymen destroyed invaders’ conveys.
Germany has pledged to send 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 missiles to help Ukraine.
Ukraine says more than 100 of its civilians and more than 1,000 Russian troops had been killed on the invasion’s second day.
An estimated 100,000 Ukrainians have fled their homes, with many trying to cross into neighbouring countries, mainly Moldova and Romania.
A screen grab from drone footage shows cars forming a line that stretches some 35 km from the Shehyni border crossing to Poland as people try to flee Russia’s military operation against Ukraine outside Mostyska, Ukraine, February 26, 2022
The US and its allies have also vowed to remove Russian banks from the SWIFT network as the international community continues to slap Russia with Sanctions.
Australia is seeking advice about sanctioning Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne announced the move following the US, UK, and European allies taking similar steps.
Sanctions on eight Russian oligarchs close to Mr Putin and 339 members of the Russian parliament were signed off overnight.
Key figures of the Belarusian government who have abetted Russia and the invasion will also be targeted.
Senator Payne says there is strong determination to ensure that Russia faces a high cost for its unprovoked attack.
‘It is an exceptional step to sanction leaders but this is an exceptional situation,’ she told reporters in Sydney on Saturday.
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne says Australia is seeking advice regarding how to sanction Russia
‘The next immediate priority is to continue sanctions on Vladimir Putin’s inner circle and on Russia’s defence industry.’
The foreign minister says the blame lay squarely at the feet of the Russian president.
‘We need to be absolutely clear – Vladimir Putin has unparalleled personal power over his country and he has chosen to go to war against a neighbour that posed no threat to Russia,’ she said.
‘It is clear that the only way to exact a cost for those actions is to ensure that he, himself, shares some of that cost and some of the pain that he is inflicting on everyone else around him in Ukraine.’
Australia will provide non-lethal military and medical aid to Ukraine through NATO and support will be guided by requests from Kyiv.
It will also continue to provide cyber security assistance.
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