The First Lady of Ukraine has delivered a message of hope to the country amid the ongoing crisis from a secret address.
Olena Volodymyrivna Zelenska, the wife of President Zelenskyy, is standing with fellow Ukrainians in the face of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
The 44-year-old, now considered to be President Putin's 'No. 2 enemy' after her husband, is currently hiding with the couple's two children at an undisclosed location in the Eastern European country.
She released her first statement one day after the military attacks began on 24 February, taking to social media to honor the Ukrainian public's bravery in response to the conflict.
"My dear people, Ukrainians! I'm looking at you all today: everyone I see on TV, on the streets, on the internet. I see your posts and videos. And you know what? You are incredible. I am proud to live with you and in the same country," she told her 2 million Instagram followers on Friday, 25 February. The powerful words captioned an image of the Ukrainian flag, which has been largely circulated on social media in support of the nation over the past week.
A photo posted by on
"I will not have panic and tears," she continued, vowing to "be calm and confident" in the face of Russia's invasion. Ukraine's health ministry has claimed that the war has already killed 352 citizens, including 14 children, while over 1,500 people have been injured.
"My children are looking at me. I will be next to them. And next to my husband. And with you," Zelenska added. Her comments come shortly after it was revealed that the 36,000 women have joined the fight against the Russian troops, including ex- Miss Ukraine, Anastasiia Lenna.
Who is Olena Volodymyrivna Zelenska?
Olena Volodymyrivna Zelenska is an accomplished screenwriter and the First Lady of Ukraine. She married President Zelenskyy in 2003 after the couple met while studying at Kryvyi Rih National University. It's understood that they took their time getting to know each other, dating for eight years before tying the knot. They went on to welcome two children, daughter Oleksandra, 17, and son, Kyrylo, 9.
Zelenska initially had doubts about her husband's decision to enter politics, admitting that she was "not too happy" when he announced his plans to run for President of Ukraine on New Year's Eve in 2018.
"I am a non-public person," she said in a 2019 interview with Teen Vogue. "But the new realities require their own rules, and I'm trying to comply with them." She has since embraced her role as First Lady, taking on a number of initiatives to support her husband's populist administration.
Zelenska's projects in office have included reforming Ukraine school nutrition system, increasing the spread of the Ukrainian language across the world, and initiating Ukraine's accession to the G7 international initiative on gender equality.
She has also continued to work as a screenwriter at Studio Quarter 95, a Ukrainian production company, which she co-founded with her husband in 2003.
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Emma is a Lifestyle News Writer for woman&home. Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, she mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.
Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.
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