Ukraine’s First Lady says her son, 9, wants to become soldier and that ‘war stole his childhood’

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Olena Zelanska address US Congress on Wednesday   (AP)
Olena Zelanska address US Congress on Wednesday (AP)

Ukraine's First Lady Olena Zelenska has revealed that her nine-year-old son dreams of becoming a soldier following Vladimir Putin's invasion of her country.

Speaking to NBC News on Wednesday, Mrs Zelenska told of her sadness that the war had robbed her young son Kyrylo of a childhood.

She told the network that her son had lost interest in his previous hobbies, including "arts and humanities".

"Before the war, my son used to go to the folk dance ensemble. He played piano. He learned English. He of course attended sports club," she said.

But she said that, after the war, "the only thing he wants to [learn] is martial arts and how to use a rifle".

Mrs Zelenska married President Volodymyr Zelensky in 2003 and the couple have two children together. She was sworn in as First Lady after Mr Zelensky triumphed in 2019's General Election.

The First Lady is currently visiting the US to appeal directly to Congress for more air defence systems to counter the Russian offensive in the Donbas.

After failing to capture Kyiv and northern regions of the country earlier this year, Russian forces have refocused their efforts in the industrial, eastern region of the country.

Earlier this month, Moscow announced it had captured the province of Luhansk and Mr Putin's troops have made steady gains in the region. Kyiv has appealed to western leaders to expedite the delivery of weapons to thwart the Russian army's advance.

"I'm asking for something now I would never want to ask," Mrs Zelenska told members of Congress.

"I'm asking for weapons - weapons that would not be used to wage a war on somebody else's land, but to protect one's home and the right to wake up alive in that home."

The US is preparing to send four more High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems to Ukraine, bringing the total number of long-range rocket launchers to 16.

On Wednesday, Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov indicated that Moscow would seek to annex other Ukrainian territory outside the Donbas, including Kherson and Zaporizhia.

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