The wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Olena Zelenska, gave an interview to US television network ABC. She spoke about the war in Ukraine, its consequences and the struggle for territory.
Olena Zelenska, wife of the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj and First Lady of Ukraine, gave an exclusive interview to the US television channel ABC on the situation in her country. The 44-year-old spoke, among other things, about the fighting for areas in the country.
“You just can’t give up parts of your territory. It’s like giving up a freedom,” says Selenska. “Even if we gave up territory, the attacker would not stop. He would keep pushing, he would start more and more steps forward, more and more attacks on our territory,” she says.
A question her nine-year-old son often asks her is when the war, which has now been going on for almost 100 days, will end. “Unfortunately, I don’t think any Ukrainian could answer that question.”
Olena Selenska wants to support her husband
Also difficult for the son: the separation from his father, the president. “We said goodbye on the first day,” says Selenska. “And for the next two months we only had the opportunity to speak to each other on the phone.”
But she is proud that the world was able to see her husband’s “true identity”. Olena and her husband Volodymyr met while studying and have been married for almost 20 years. She and the family would support him wherever and however they could, Selenska said in the ABC interview. “If one day he said, ‘OK, I’m going to go into space as an astronaut,’ then I would have to fly with him,” she laughs.
While she doesn’t feel as brave as her husband, Selenska says she wants to “keep working on doing my part to get closer to our victory.” She realized that she had to be strong and courageous. And that she had to support her husband.
Selenska impressed by Ukrainian women
An air alert interrupts the interview as Selenska discusses global support for Ukraine with interviewer and presenter Robin Roberts. When it’s all over, Selenska says, “It’s really important because you feel like you’re not alone.” She and Ukraine are grateful for the aid that Ukraine has received so far and that they “hope and wait for further help”.
In Russia’s war against Ukraine, which has now been going on for more than three months, the First Lady also drew attention to women who are fighting for Ukraine. “I always thought that Ukrainian women were the best. And I was really proud of how Ukrainian women behaved during the war,” she says. “Now I’m proud that the whole world has seen the true colors of Ukrainian women.” Selenska posted pictures of women during the war on Instagram.
She was particularly moved by the story of a maternity nurse in the besieged and hard-fought Mariupol. “Despite all the bombing, she continued to work,” says Selenska. “There was no water supply. There was no electricity supply. And she kept working until this maternity hospital was completely destroyed.”
“How else can you see these murders?”
But the suffering of her compatriots also affects her, especially that of the many children who were traumatized by the war. “We have to help people get through this. We have to help people psychologically and mentally in any way we can.” She wants to start a national program for this.
And what would she like to say to the people of Russia? “Whenever we try to ask them a question or pass a message on, they tend to reply that you have different information. … Or they might say that we have different perspectives on the situation,” she says. “But how else can you see these murders?”
One should also not get used to the war and the pain it causes, according to Selenska. “And don’t think that there is a reason to start this war. Because that would mean that Russian propaganda is working for you. Be careful what you hear and don’t get used to this war.”