Three weeks into his job, Ukraine's Petro Poroshenko looks like a man in a hurry.
He's a bustling hive of activity. Judging by his website, he's rarely off the phone to one world leader or another.
He has defied Russia's President Vladimir Putin and nailed down an elusive landmark free trade deal that will shift his country into mainstream Europe.
He has won plaudits from the West's political elite for his tough but pragmatic decisions in handling the separatist crisis that threatens his country with break-up.
But now the 48-year-old confectionery tycoon needs to perform a perilous balancing act if he's to stabilise Ukraine in the face of potential new trade reprisals from Moscow after signing the European Union deal.
While he is articulate, resilient and energetic, his nemesis Putin is a political fox and a master tactician, who has annexed Crimea and seems to have it in his powers to decide, with a word, the outcome in Ukraine's rebellious east.
"Putin is a difficult and crafty opponent ... It's like a boxing match between different weights - if Russia is the super heavyweight, then Ukraine is in the middle-weight category," commented Volodymyr Fesenko, a political analyst.
However, political insiders say Poroshenko, the man they call the "Chocolate King", has a hard centre.
His performance before European Union leaders in Brussels was a slick tour de force, delivered in fluent English and exuding humour and self-confidence - a stark contrast with Viktor Yanukovich, his Moscow-backed predecessor known for a leaden style and cultural gaffes.
Showing a flash of humour that enlivened EU leaders immediately, he flourished a commemorative pen embossed with the November 2013 date of the EU's Vilnius summit - the occasion when Yanukovich balked at signing the same trade deal and sparked a people's revolt that ultimately chased him from power.
"What a great day!" Poroshenko declared.
That he can display such a light touch given his array of problems wins him respect and friends in high places.
Political insiders say his handling of the separatist crisis shows there steel behind the charm, after he warned of a "detailed Plan B" - a government offensive - if his ceasefire strategy is rejected by the rebels.
Speaking in the German parliament, Chancellor Angela Merkel this past week praised the "very courageous step" he took by announcing a ceasefire on June 20.
But after the bout of high diplomacy with the Europeans, he is back to the hard part in Ukraine - where guns