Olena Zelenska, first lady of Ukraine, on the terrible winter ahead: “We will endure this ordeal”

Vladimir Putin’s objective for the next few weeks seems clear: to undermine Ukrainian forces and morale by bombing the territory’s energy infrastructure. Massive power and water cuts are currently affecting the country, plunging the country into chaos and forcing the inhabitants to face yet another terrible ordeal.

“We are ready to endure this,” says Olena Zelenska, first lady of Ukraine for the BBC. “We have endured so much hardship, seen so much casualty and destruction that these blackouts are not the worst things to happen to us,” she announces.

However, Olena Zelenska acknowledges that the coming period will be tough and uncertain for Ukrainians: “You know, it’s easy to run a marathon when you know the number of kilometres. Here, we do not know the distance”, she metaphorizes, “but new emotions help us to hold on”, she also assures.

The first lady of Ukraine also spoke about her own situation and her daily life with her husband President Volodymyr Zelensky: “I live separately with my children and my husband remains at work. What we mostly miss are the simple things, like sitting around and not paying attention to the passage of time, for as long as we want.”

For Olena Zelenska, however, capitulating to Moscow is out of the question: “We all understand that without victory there will be no peace. It would be a false amnesty that would not last”, she claims.

Finally, when asked about a possible “fatigue” that the allied countries could feel, particularly in the face of historic increases in energy and food, the first lady of Ukraine said she was not worried: “Everyone understands that ‘It’s not just a war in Ukraine but a war of worldview,’ she adds.

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