Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has amassed a growing fandom thanks to his unwavering patriotism and fearlessness in the face of the current Russian invasion, qualities he clearly shares with his wife.
Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska took to social media this week to urge world leaders to speak up on behalf of her country, inspiring millions of fans with a message on how non-Ukrainians can help their cause. In a post on Instagram, Zelenska shared video messages from fellow First Ladies Diana Nausėdienė of Lithuania and Andra Levite of Latvia expressing support for the mothers and children suffering during the war. In a caption for the videos, Zelenska explained that numerous First Ladies had been phoning to ask how they can help before listing steps everyone can take to fight against Vladimir Putin and his violent power grab.
“The First Ladies are asking me these days how they can help Ukraine,” Zelenska begins. “My answer is – tell the truth to the world! Speak up! What is happening in Ukraine is not a “special military operation,” as Putin says, but a full-scale war, where the aggressor is the Russian Federation. Speak up! Ukrainian children have to live and study in bomb shelters, and hospitals have to treat their patients in basements. Despite the assurances of Russian propagandists and the Kremlin’s mouthpieces, there are already dozens of civilian victims in Ukraine. The aggressor covers it over, but the losses of the Russian military have already reached thousands of lives. Tell Russian mothers that their sons are not engaged in military exercises – they are dying trying to seize Ukraine. Call on Russians to protest! They are terrified by their leadership. But they must realize that this war is the beginning of the end for them as well. And it’s not just about the economy.”
The First Lady went on to promise that Ukraine would fight to the end, a sentiment her husband has expressed many times over the past week.
“Ukraine wants peace. But Ukraine will defend itself and will never capitulate,” she continued. “Ukraine does not need to be rescued. But we need support from the world for our army and civilians. Not just in words. Encourage compatriots to help Ukrainian women and organize state aid. Let the whole world know – it’s not a war ‘somewhere out there.’ This is a war in Europe and at the EU borders. Ukraine is defending against the force which tomorrow might invade your peaceful cities and towns. Don’t be quiet! Tell them that Putin is threatening to start a nuclear war, and if he does, there will be no safe place in the world anymore.”
Currently, Zelenska and her two children are in an undisclosed location as they have been targeted by the Russian military. Despite being offered assistance in evacuating, President Zelenskyy has refused to leave the country, telling world leaders that he “needs ammunition, not a ride.”
In another Instagram post on Friday, the First Lady addressed her current situation, expressing her belief in her fellow citizens and her hope that the world will unite on behalf of Ukraine and in opposition to Putin’s tyranny.
“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 with you,” she wrote before sharing a photo of Ukraine’s national flag.