As Ukraine battles with Russian strikes on its critical infrastructure amidst a brutal winter, the war-torn country’s First Lady remains hopeful for a warm and safe future. Olena Zelenska, the wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, spoke to BBC and asserted that no matter what, Ukraine is “ready to endure” the blackouts caused by Russian attacks on power grids as winter grips the nation.
“We’ve had so many terrible challenges, seen so many victims, so much destruction, that blackouts are not the worst thing to happen to us,” she said, while citing a survey where a whopping 90% of Ukraine’s citizens were willing to withstand power cuts for a period of two to three years if it helps the country joining the European Union.
The First Lady also spoke about how the ongoing war has drawn her apart from her husband, who carries the weight of leading a nation tormented by war. Talking about the last time Zelenskyy had dinner with his family, she said: “It’s very rare nowadays. Very rare.”
“I live separately with my children and my husband lives at work. Most of all, we miss simple things – to sit, not looking at the time, as long as we want,” she added.
Zelenska reveals how the war has impacted Ukrainian women
It has been nine months since the war broke out, and some nations are starting to feel a certain “fatigue.” Talking about how the military conflict has created ripples across the globe and spurred crises like food and energy security, Zelenska said: “I don’t feel they are tired of us. They all understand that this is not just a war in Ukraine. It is a war of world views.”
However, the war has a silver lining according to the First Lady, who believes that it has made Ukrainian women snap out of their traditional gender norms. “Kitchen, children, church – this is not for our society any more. A woman who has lived through this will not take a step back,” she said. For Ukraine’s first family, the fight for freedom is a long road ahead. “We cannot betray those who are now in occupied territories. We cannot leave people who are waiting for liberation,” she emphasized.