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They'd make an odd trio in real life, but it turns out Vladimir Putin, Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Kim Jong Un are actually a pretty good team.
Or at least, their lookalikes are, after an impersonator of the Ukrainian president was rescued from Kyiv by two men paid to pretend to be his Russian and North Korean counterparts.
Umid Isabaev had been working in the Ukrainian capital as an impersonator of the now world-famous President Zelenskyy when Russia launched its invasion 20 days ago, and quickly found himself fearing for his safety and looking for a way out.
Thankfully, another professional impersonator heard of his plight and enlisted the help of his network of lookalikes to get him out.
Howard X, who makes a living as a pretty convincing Kim Jong-un impersonator, got in touch with Slawek Sobala, a Polish man who works as a Putin lookalike, and asked him if he could help get Isabaev across the border.
From there, Sobala used his contact to put together a crack extraction team for Isabaev, and on Friday, March 12, two weeks after the war started, the Zelenskyy double finally crossed the border to safety.
"When the war started, I thought of Umid because I know he's living in Ukraine," Howard X told the Daily Star. "I got in touch with him and told him 'you need to get out of here', because who knows what will happen if Russia gets hold of a Zelenskyy double?"
Isabaev is actually from Uzbekistan, and began working as a Zelenskyy impersonator in 2019 after a photo of him sitting on the Metro went viral in Ukraine. He's been living in Kyiv for two years after being flown out by Zelenksyy's production company, and has even met the real Volodymyr a few times.
'They wanted to get women and children out of the country first, not an immigrant from Uzbekistan,' Howard X said, explaining that although Isabaev was detained at first when arriving at the border, 'he eventually got through and from what I heard, the border staff laughed when they realised how much he looked like Zelenskyy'.
Sobala, the Putin impersonator, has now taken Isabaev with him to Wroclaw, Poland, and has even shared a photo of the unlikely pair having a pint together.
Apparently, the duo plan to work together as lookalikes in Poland, using satire to 'fight Putin's regime.'
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