Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has appeared as a hologram at VivaTech in Paris, where he referenced Star Wars as he called on global tech companies to help rebuild his war-torn country.
"No other country in the world will offer you such a chance to use the most advanced technologies at the state level," Zelenskyy said, addressing the technology fair on Thursday. "Ukraine is an opportunity for you”.
Zelenskyy acknowledged that it was "unusual for a president or head of government to speak via hologram".
But "this is not the only element of Star Wars that we will put into practice, we will beat the Empire too," the former actor said, referring to Russia.
Wearing a T-shirt featuring futuristic fighters and the text “Come to the Dark Side,” Zelenskyy also urged countries to support a "lend-lease" programme inspired by a World War Two-era scheme that allowed Washington to lend or lease military equipment to US allies.
He said such a programme would help Ukraine bounce back from the war with a “global digital revolution”.
He added the proposal would be detailed at a conference on Ukraine’s reconstruction in Lugano, Switzerland scheduled for July 4-5.
Ukraine often highlights its advanced level of state digitalisation, which has helped it resist Russia's offensive
The country has been relying heavily on cryptocurrency donations to raise funds, has intensely lobbied major tech companies to stop doing business with Russia, and successfully appealed to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk to supply StarLink terminals providing satellite-based internet services across the country.
VivaTech, an annual showcase dedicated to innovations, start-ups and the tech sector, returned to Paris this week and continues until Saturday at its home in the exhibition halls of the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles centre.