Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Ukraine’s first lady says her husband is ‘a man you can rely on’

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his wife Olena (Efrem Lukatsky/AP)
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his wife Olena (Efrem Lukatsky/AP)

Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, said the war with Russia has not changed her husband but only revealed to the world his determination to prevail and the fact that he is a man you can rely on.

Ms Zelenska, in an interview published on Friday in the Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita, also said she has not seen her husband, 44-year-old Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy, since Russia invaded Ukraine.

When Ms Zelenska woke up on February 24, the day the war began, her husband was already awake and dressed.

He told her simply: “It’s started”, and left for the office in Kyiv, she recalled.

“Since February 24, I have been seeing my husband just like you — on TV and on the video recordings of his speeches,” she said.

Ms Zelenska said the couple’s two children were with her but she did not disclose their location.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky (Efrem Lukatsky/AP)
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky (Efrem Lukatsky/AP)

She accused Russia of trying to carry out a genocide against the Ukrainian people and expressed her sympathy with the more than 11 million Ukrainians who have been forced to flee their homes.

Poland has accepted the largest number of them, with three million crossing into Poland since the war began and 1.6 million Ukrainians registering for national identification numbers, indicating they plan to remain for some time.

Most are women and children.

“I wish I could hug each of them.

“It is easy to imagine the difficult path they went through, escaping from basements or bunkers in Mariupol, from shelling in Kharkiv, from the occupied Kyiv region, and even from Lviv or Odesa, which were also under fire from Russian missiles,” she said.

She also thanked Poles for their efforts to help Ukrainians, a message her husband also delivered to the Polish media on Friday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, left, and his wife Olena Zelenska leave a booth at a polling station (Evgeniy Maloletka/AP)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, left, and his wife Olena Zelenska leave a booth at a polling station (Evgeniy Maloletka/AP)

The newspaper, making clear that it interviewed Ms Zelenska remotely, asked her if the war had changed her husband, the former comedic actor who has rallied and united Ukraine as a wartime leader, winning respect worldwide.

“The war has not changed him,” she replied.

“He has always been a man you can rely on.

“A man who will never fail.

“Who will hold out until the end.

“It’s just that now the whole world has seen what may not have been clear to everyone before.”

She was also asked if she had a message for the mothers, wives and sisters of Russian soldiers.

Ms Zelenska said she did not, because “nothing gets through to them”.

“During those two months, as their sons are being killed in Ukraine as criminals and occupiers, they had time to define their position.

“Since there is no such declaration, if the coffins do not convince them that something is wrong here, then I have nothing to say to them,” she said.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]