Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska told the BBC that Ukraine will hold out next winter despite the cold and blackouts caused by Russia’s missiles, and will continue to fight what she describes as a war of worldviews, because “without victory it cannot there be peace”.
“We are ready to put up with this,” says Olena. “We’ve had so many terrible challenges, seen so many casualties, so much destruction, that blackouts aren’t the worst thing that can happen to us.” Then, the first lady cites a recent poll in which 90% of Ukrainians said they were ready to live with electricity shortages for two or three years if they saw the prospect of joining the European Union. This, she adds, in the face of the fact that “it’s easy to run a marathon when you know how many miles there are.” However, Ukrainians do not know the distance they have to travel. “It can be very difficult at times, but there are some new emotions that help us endure.”
As for family life and the fact that she rarely sees her husband, President Zelensky, the first lady adds that meeting “is very rare today. Very rare. I live separately with my children and my husband lives at work,” she explains. “Above all, we miss the simple things: sitting, not looking at the time, as long as we want.”