This traditional embroidered shirt worn by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has sold at an auction in Washington DC for USD 100,000.
President Zelenskyy wore the shirt on 19th May, which was Vyshyvanka Day, as can be seen from these images. ‘Vyshyvanka’ is a casual name for the traditional embroidered shirts worn by Ukrainians.
The footage shows President Zelenskyy congratulating Ukrainian citizens that day.
The Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova, 45, said (in Ukrainian): “At the U24 presentation, the most important lot was the embroidered shirt, in which our President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered a speech on Vyshyvanka Day.”
‘U24’ stands for ‘United24’, which is a charitable initiative launched by President Zelenskyy. On the Ukrainian government’s U24 website, it is stated that the initiative “was launched by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy as the main venue for collecting charitable donations in support of Ukraine.
“Funds will be transferred to the official accounts of the National Bank of Ukraine and allocated by assigned ministries to cover the most pressing needs: defence and demining, medical aid, rebuilding Ukraine.”
President Zelenskyy also spoke to the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a phone call on Vyshyvanka Day.
An image showing the president wearing the embroidered shirt was posted on his official Instagram account along with the caption: “Phone conversation with @borisjohnsonuk. They discussed defence support, ways to export agricultural products from our country and import fuel to Ukraine. He spoke about the course of hostilities and the operation to rescue the military from Azovstal.”
Speaking about the embroidered shirt going under the hammer, Ambassador Markarova added: “We thank [the law firm] Asters US, personally Serhii Sviriba, Markiyan Kliuchkovskyi and Andrew Mac for actively fighting for the embroidered shirt […]”
Ambassador Markarova also thanked bidders for their generosity and for Asters’ winning USD 100,000 (GBP 80,000) bid, which “through the United24 platform will go to medical needs, and also for agreeing to leave the embroidered shirt at Ukraine House for a while, so many people will be able to see it.”
Ukraine House is a cultural centre located in Washington DC and linked to the Ukrainian diplomatic mission to the United States that describes itself as “a home away from home for many Ukrainians by birth and Ukrainians by choice in Washington DC. It is a center where Ukrainian heritage, heroic past and love for freedom meets Ukrainian modern and digital future.”
Speaking about the auction, which took place on Friday, 3rd June, Ambassador Markarova added: “We hope that the example of Asters and other benefactors of the evening will encourage a large number of companies to join aid directly to Ukraine through U24 and through which they will be able to transparently monitor the use of their donations.”
She added: “Together to victory!”
The auction also featured shirts with autographs from Ukrainian football players Artem Dovbik and Andriy Yarmolenko, who played in the match pitting the Ukrainian national team against Scotland on 1st June, as well as other pieces of memorabilia.