Zelensky impersonator flees Ukraine to get to safety
Howard X/Facebook

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky were set to battle it out in an MMA fight.

Well, not exactly.

Instead, the lookalikes of the world leaders were supposed to fight later this month, but immense backlash forced the event to be called off.

The competitors came face to face over the weekend for a press conference held by promoters, Royal Division. The event was live-streamed to YouTube and Facebook viewers. It is said to help raise funds for Ukrainian refugees. Footage showed the impersonators arrive in style, accompanied by 'bodyguards' as they hopped out of their 4x4 Mercedes cars.

'Putin' was greeted with a frosty reception. Meanwhile, the Zelensky doppelganger arrived and threw his MMA glove at the fake Russian leader.

The pair then addressed the crowd in Polish – and social media users weren't impressed by the spectacle, ultimately forcing the event to be cancelled.

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One said, "Either it's satirical or sad, or just pure momentum grasp," while another slammed the clash as "sickening."

Polish illustrator Konrad Kachel took to Twitter to say that much of Poland was disgusted by the event.

"Obviously, everyone in Poland is s**tting on him with literally no positive comments [about] the event," Kachel tweeted.

"Everyone is outraged, disgusted, or otherwise disappointed. I'm talking about politicians, celebs and common folks."

He added: "His excuse is that the event would raise money to help refugees and Ukrainians staying in Ukraine, but that didn't quite matter."

Putin vs Zelensky Freak Fight Royal Division |FULL VIDEOwww.youtube.com

In a lengthy statement, actor Antoni Krolikowski apologised for the miscommunication and claimed he was simply trying to raise awareness for his fundraising attempts. The fight was apparently never going to happen.

He said: "I am sorry that our initiative has caused so much emotion. I would like to take you backstage on our activities, so that you know what motivates us and how we want to help Ukraine. I understand your concern about this issue, but I believe that this initiative will result in a lot of good, and there will be no real fight of doubles!"

He added: "The meeting that was to take place between Umit (a refugee from the east, a lookalike of the president of Ukraine) and Sławek from Poland (a lookalike of the disgraced president of Russia) was never supposed to have anything to do with a fight.

"I emphasise because this is probably not the case here. A symbolic action is planned. I am an actor, filmmaker, not professionally involved in sports, but when I learned about the stories of this extraordinary friendship between two doubles, I knew that the world must hear about it. I think it worked, although the level of hatred directed at us surprised us a lot."

Krolikowski went on to say: "Like many artists from around the world, I also wanted to support my Eastern friends. Making the best of the opportunities I have.

"I am very sorry that the project was so assessed and aroused so many difficult emotions, and the emerging hate makes this artistic message difficult for us. Nevertheless, I want to express it and achieve the goal of helping Ukrainian citizens. Therefore, we are accelerating our initiative. You will be able to see it this Saturday during the second conference."

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