KYIV – Russian tanks were rolling over the border and Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, was in the grips of fear and panic. Street fighting broke out and a Russian armored column, barreling into the city, advanced to within 2 miles (3.2 km) of the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
In those tense first days of the war, almost everyone — Russian President Vladimir Putin, military analysts and many Western officials — expected the Ukrainian leadership to fracture. Instead, Zelenskyy decided to personally remain in the capital, taking selfies as he traversed Kyiv to reassure his people. And he ordered his senior aides, many Cabinet members and much of his government to also stay put, despite the risks.