Russia steps up efforts to erase Ukrainian identity as Lenin reappears in south

Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska is seen during a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Sept. 1, 2021. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images )

Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, has said she believes Russia intends to destroy her country.

Speaking in an interview in which she revealed the profound upheaval the conflict has wreaked on her family and fellow citizens, Zelenska told Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita that the invasion of Ukraine “completely changed everything, including our lives”.

In a remote interview published on April 28, Zelenska said that since the start of the invasion on February 24, President Volodymyr Zelensky “has moved to Bankowa Street (the President’s office in kyiv), to his place of work “, while she stayed with their children. .

“There are no days off or free time in war. Often you don’t even know the day of the week. There is only what is today, what needs to be done “, she added.

Zelenksa said her children were studying remotely as she worked through her initiative with other first ladies, individual country governments, activists and volunteers to organize evacuations of sick and orphaned children to safe places.

When asked if the war had changed her husband, she replied, “For some reason, I often hear that question. But the war hasn’t changed him.”

You have to understand that it has always been like that. He was a man you could count on. A man who will never fail. Now the whole world has seen what was perhaps not clear to everyone before.”

In response to a question about what she thinks Vladimir Putin wants to achieve in Ukraine, Zelenska said Russia’s message continues to evolve and “this leads to the conclusion that their plans are constantly changing or not working logically. But I don’t judge them by statements, but by deeds.

“What the Russian troops are doing in Ukraine leads directly to the conclusion that the Russians are trying to annihilate the Ukrainians, which is their real goal.

“This conclusion comes to mind when I see the destruction of Mariupol, from where even safe evacuation through humanitarian corridors was not allowed, when I see the bombing of residential buildings in Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Odessa, Kramatorsk station, destroyed by a Russian missile, where more than 50 people who tried to leave were killed,” she said.

“And of course I came to this conclusion after the war crimes committed by the Russians in the kyiv region, where we continue to uncover the mass graves of murdered and executed non-combatants, women and children,” she said.

“Yes, I am convinced that the Russians want to destroy us and commit genocide. And it doesn’t matter what they say because their words do not match their actions.”

Zelenska added that she was grateful to Poland for helping the Ukrainian refugees because they are “looking forward to the most important news – that we have won and they can go home”.

She added: “I will be happy when I can pass it on to them one day, hopefully sooner rather than later.”

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