Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska says relationship with husband ‘on pause’ due to war

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky and his wife pictured in 2019, three years before Russia’s invasion  (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky and his wife pictured in 2019, three years before Russia’s invasion (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Ukraine’s first lady said her marriage has been “on pause” since the war with Russian began.

Olena Zelenska revealed her relationship with hubsand Volodymyr Zelensky has dramatically changed amid the ongoing conflict and the pair are forbidden from seeing each other for long periods during the war.

In an interview aired Tuesday, Olena Zelenska told CNN's Christiane Amanpour that she is not allowed to see Mr Zelensky very often and when she does, it's only for a short period of time.

“But at least I can physically feel him next to me,” Ms Zelenska said. “This isn't normal.

“It's not a normal relationship when children cannot see their father and have to talk to him on the phone. So our relationship is on pause just as it is for all Ukrainians,” she added.

Olena Zelenska is staying in a secret location with the couple’s children (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Olena Zelenska is staying in a secret location with the couple’s children (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Both president Zelensky and Ms Zelenska refused to leave Ukraine when Russia began its “special military operation” on 24 February.

In the first two months of the war, the family was not able to see each other at all. Mr Zelensky lived in his office with his staff while Ms Zelenska and their two children, aged 17 and 9, were kept in a secret location.

Watch: Who is Volodymyr Zelenskyy?

“We are waiting to be reunited, to be together again, to spend evenings together, to talk to the children about their things,” she said.

In the interview, Ms Zelenska also said the ongoing war, which has moved away from Kyiv and intensified in the eastern Donbas region, had taken a large toll on the country and that she currently “cannot see the end of our suffering.”

First lady Jill Biden greets Olena Zelenska, spouse of Ukrainian's president Volodymyr Zelensky
First lady Jill Biden greets Olena Zelenska, spouse of Ukrainian's president Volodymyr Zelensky

“We need to accumulate our strength, we need to save our energy,” Ms Zelenska encouraged.

In a previous interview with Good Morning America, Ms Zelenska opened up about the pair's forced separation when the invasion began and discussed her husband's impressive character in the face of war.

“We say goodbye to each other the very first day. And over the next two months, we only had a chance to speak via the phone. I'm really proud of the fact that the world has uncovered the true identity of my husband,” Ms Zelenska said.

She added that while it was easier to explain to her 17-year-old daughter what is going on in the country, her nine-year-old son questioned where his father was.

President Zelensky thanked Britain Thursday for pledging an additional £1 billion in military aid to Ukraine. He called Ukraine a “true friend and strategic partner.”

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting