Zelensky’s wife on war toll: ‘Our family was torn apart’

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Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska appeared alongside her husband, President Volodymyr Zelensky, for a rare television interview in which she spoke about the family’s experience during Moscow’s invasion of their country.

“Our family was torn apart, as every other Ukrainian family,” Zelenska said in an interview on Ukrainian television network ICTV, according to The Washington Post

“He lives at his job. We didn’t see him at all for two and a half months,” she also said of Zelensky who has led the country as a wartime president. She added that she was “grateful” for the interview as time to spend with her husband. 

But when asked if the war had “basically taken her husband away,” Zelenska said “nobody takes my husband away from me, not even the war.”

At the start of the invasion, a defiant Zelensky and his family remained in Ukraine despite knowing that he and his family were Moscow’s top targets.  

While Zelenska made her first public appearance since the start of Russia’s invasion during a visit earlier this month with first lady Jill Biden, she has offered support to her country via social media posts before that. 

“Today I will not have panic and tears. I will be calm and confident. My children are looking at me. I will be next to them. And next to my husband. And together with you. I love you all! I love Ukraine!,” she said in an Instagram post at the start of the invasion. 

Zelenska has previously described what it was like when the invasion began in an interview conducted via email with Vogue.

“I wouldn’t say there was panic,” she said. 

“Confusion perhaps. ‘What should we do with the children?’ ‘Wait,’ he said, ‘I’ll let you know. Just in case, gather essentials and documents.’ And he left the house,” she said.

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