Volodymyr Zelenskiy referenced Star Wars and the second world war as the Ukrainian president appeared as a hologram at a conference in Paris to seek aid from big tech firms.
He told a crowd of hundreds at the VivaTech trade show that he was offering technology firms a unique chance to rebuild Ukraine as a fully digital democracy.
He asked for help on the terms of lend-lease – the way in which the United States helped the Allies during the second world war, offering aid without payment but on the understanding that hardware would be returned.
“It’s unusual for presidents or heads of government to use a hologram to address people but this is not the only aspect of Star Wars that we are putting into practice,” he said.
“We will defeat the empire too,” he said, likening Russian forces to the enemy in Star Wars.
He said the government would lay out the specifics of a plan that would create a digital government at a conference in Switzerland in the coming weeks.
“No other country in the world will offer you such a chance to use the most advanced technologies at a state level,” he said.
“It’s an experiment and a digital revolution, and the modernisation of the current system all at the same time.”
Ukraine has heavily leveraged technology during the war with Russia, utilising crypto communities to raise funds and successfully appealing to Elon Musk to supply the infrastructure for satellite-based internet services.
Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February and has waged war on cities across the east and the Black Sea coast, in what Ukrainians say is an attempt to destroy their country.
With Agence France-Presse