The first lady of Ukraine has recounted how the outbreak of the war in February caused her “anxiety and stupor”, adding that the conflict meant that she didn’t see her husband, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, for two-and-a-half months.
- In a televised interview with his wife, Olena Zelenska, Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he is “convinced” a diplomatic solution will be found
- He says many Ukrainian pilots died transporting supplies to the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol
- Ms Zelenska says her family was “torn apart” by the war, “like every other Ukrainian family”
“Our family was torn apart, as every other Ukrainian family,” Olena Zelenska said in a televised interview with Mr Zelenskyy.
“[But] nobody takes my husband away from me, not even the war. But, yes, he lives for his job, [our family] almost don’t get to see him.
“Now, we had a few occasions to see each other. And I am also very thankful for this occasion, because [this interview] makes us spend time together.
“We didn’t see him at all for two-and-a-half-months. We only spoke on the phone with each other.”
A successful screenwriter, Ms Zelenska married Mr Zelenskyy in 2003 and they have two children together, daughter Oleksandra and son Kyrylo.
It was only the second time since the outbreak of war on February 24 that Mr Zelenskyy appeared together with his wife.
During the interview, Mr Zelenskyy said the “bloody” war in Ukraine will only be stopped with a diplomatic solution, conceding that outright victory will be difficult to achieve.
“There are things that we can’t bring to an end without sitting at the negotiation table. That’s how it is, because we would like to get everything back, and Russia doesn’t want to give back anything.”
He said that many Ukrainian pilots operating helicopters and planes had died while transporting medication, food and water to the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol before the evacuation process started.
“[They flew there] to bring medication, produce and water, and to evacuate the wounded. All of this was happening, details of which nobody could comment on officially.”
Mr Zelenskyy added that the United Nations, the Red Cross and Russia took full responsibility for the Ukrainian servicemen brought out of the steel plant in recent days.
“As of today, yes, this process is on its finishing line, led by the [Ukrainian] intelligence service, especially the evacuation and the preparation for a dialogue and an exchange,” he said.
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