The hundreds of people posting Instagram selfies in leopard-print outfits in recent days launched fashion into geopolitics for Ukraine's successful campaign to get Germany's powerful Leopard battle tanks.
Just moments after Germany finally agreed to deliver 14 Leopard tanks on Wednesday, Presidential chief of staff Andriy Yermak joined in posting the same number of leopard emojis.
Berlin also granted approval for other European countries to send tanks from their own stocks.
The move came after days of international pressure on Germany to sign off on the deliveries to Kyiv, which included a viral campaign from the Ukrainian government.
"Put on your favourite leopard clothes and post a selfie with #FreeTheLeopards," Ukraine.ua, the country's official account, posted on Instagram Sunday.
"Let's bring Leopard tanks to Ukraine!" Ukraina.ua was taking up a hashtag that appeared a few days prior and gained traction as pressure on Germany spilled over onto social media. The video on Ukraine.ua featured an iconic scene from the movie "Fifth Element" with Ruby Rhod (played by Chris Tucker) prancing in a leopard-print jumpsuit and tanks covered in the same pattern.
The video received around 78,000 likes and triggered a flood of photos: people boasting matching nail designs, swimsuits or even furry overalls. A photoshopped portrait of Ukraine's iconic 19th century poet Taras Shevchenko also made the rounds, his dark coat and hat covered in animal print. "Now it's official: Leopards will come to Ukraine," Ukrainian MP Yevgeniya Kravchuk, dressed in a leopard turtleneck, trumpeted on Facebook after Wednesday's announcement.
Kyiv is working to ensure Berlin's green light encourages other countries to send over more high-grade weapons.
"Let's keep working. Let's start dressing up like F-16 and ATACMS," said young philosopher Sergey Koshman on Facebook, referring to the fighter planes and long-range American missiles that Ukraine has been requesting for months.(AFP)