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    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko waves as he takes part in a testing flight onboard a Sukhoi Su-27 fighter aircraft during his working trip to Zaporizhia region on the Day of Defender of Ukraine, October 14, 2015

    Poroshenko Trying to Get Some of That Sweet Putin Charm to Rub Off on Him

    © REUTERS / Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Mykola Lazarenko/Pool
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    On Wednesday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko took to the skies aboard a recently refitted and modernized Su-27 fighter jet. Soon after, hilarity ensued on the internet.

    The president's ride, well-publicized by Ukrainian media, quickly caught fire on Ukrainian and Russian social media, with Ukrainians angrily suggesting that the PR stunt was actually a botched attempt by Poroshenko to emulate the Russian president, who had flown a Su-27 back in 2000.

    "Does Poroshenko want to be like Putin?"

    "It seems to me that with his flight in the Su-27, Poroshenko is reaaally trying to look like Putin, except the magnitude of the two men differs."

    "Tell me: which one is Putin and which Poroshenko? God forbid that I would confuse them.  Let them both fly away and not return!"

    Even Ukrainian news portals also got in on the action, pointing out that Poroshenko's PR stunt appears to have turned into a complete failure, resulting only in jokes and angry comments. 

    Photo, top left: "Thank You Vladimir Vladimirovich for teaching me how to sit in an airplane." "You're welcome Petro. Next time I'll teach you how to actually fly it." Photo, bottom left: "Do I look more like Putin yet?"

    "Poroshenko doesn't seem aware that the airplane he was flying was created by the occupants and the Moskals. He should be ashamed of flying in an enemy plane! Oh the horror…"

    "You should fire your whole PR service, Petro Oleksiyevich, because it's obvious they were smoking something."

    Others tried to make the best of a bad situation:

    "Actually, Poroshenko beat everybody! He did not fly the plane to Donbass, and Putin, waiting for him all day with a portable rocket launcher, caught a cold!"

    "What do you Twitter clowns want? For Poroshenko to switch to an F-16? We fly what we have. As for the PR…It's always existed and always will."

    "@walterambulance You are the Twitter clown here. I think it would be reasonable for the president to do his job, instead of amusing himself. And for you to have a demand for him to do this."

    Even Western media commentators could not help themselves in joking about the president's stunt.

    Good God Shaun, please don't give the Ukrainian president any ideas!

     

    Poroshenko's photo op, taking place on the newly mandated Defenders of Ukraine Day holiday, was meant to hail the modernization of Ukraine's Air Force to NATO standards; the airplane, along with a second Su-27, was handed over to the air force following the flight. Unfortunately, the PR stunt took another hit when it was discovered that the plane the president was flying may have actually been modernized back in 2012.

    Introduced in the mid-1980s, the Su-27 is a twin-engine, super-maneuverable fighter meant as the Soviet response to US fourth-generation fighter aircraft. Today, Russia and Ukraine are its primary users, with a sprinkling of planes also operated by other countries in the former Soviet Union, Africa and Asia. The US has four Su-27s, the planes used to train US pilots against possible aggressor planes.

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    Tags:
    PR stunt, public relations, stunt, flight, Su-27, Vladimir Putin, Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine
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