Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska, 44, urged leaders to speak out against Russia, and show the true devastations that the Ukrainian people are facing in light of the country’s attacks, especially the toll that it’s taken on children and others still in Ukraine. Zelenska detailed children being taught in bomb shelters as well as civilians being killed and hospitals being forced to move treatments to their basements in wake of Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s ordered attacks on Ukraine in an Instagram post on Wednesday March 2.
Along with calls to stand up to Russia, Zelenska’s Instagram shined light on many of the horrors that Ukrainians have faced since the invasion. “Ukrainian children have to live and study in bomb shelters, and hospitals have to treat their patients in basements,” she wrote, while pleading for people to speak out more. “Despite the assurances of Russian propagandists and the Kremlin’s mouthpieces, there are already dozens of civilian victims in Ukraine.”
In her caption, Zelenska revealed that many people (including the first ladies) have reached out and asked what they could do to help, and her biggest plea was for people to “tell the world the truth,” about what’s happening in Ukraine. “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,” she wrote.
Besides the atrocities that the Ukrainians are facing, Zelenska also called for people to speak out against the propaganda that the Kremlin has used to push the war forward. She explained that there have been many civilians killed in Ukraine, as well as many Russian soldiers, and that Putin’s forces are trying to seize the country, rather than participating in “military exercises.” She also encouraged her followers to continue to call on Russians to protest against the invasion of Ukraine.
Zelenska also reiterated past patriotic sentiments that Ukraine would defend itself against the Russian aggressors, but called for help with weapons for their military. “Ukraine wants peace. But Ukraine will defend itself and will never capitulate,” she wrote. “Ukraine does not need to be rescued. But we need support from the world for our army and civilians. Not just in words.” Additionally, she called for fellow women to organize, and she warned of larger implications that the attack from Russia could have, especially on the rest of Europe, as she called for people to continue speaking up for Ukraine. “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,” she said.
Along with her rousing call for support, the First Lady shared two videos on her Instagram of Latvian First Lady Andra Levite and Lithuanian First Lady Diana Nausedene showing their support for Ukraine in wake of Russia’s attacks. Levite recorded her message in English, and swore that Ukraine would overcome this trying time. “You’re not alone. We all stand by your side. Humanity will win,” she said in part.