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Ukraine's first lady says her relationship with Zelenskyy is 'on pause' as they can't see each other for long periods during the war

Business Insider logo Business Insider 6/29/2022 sankel@businessinsider.com (Sophia Ankel)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the first lady, Olena Zelenska. PressOffice of Ukrainian Presidency/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images © PressOffice of Ukrainian Presidency/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the first lady, Olena Zelenska. PressOffice of Ukrainian Presidency/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
  • Ukraine's first lady said she doesn't get to see her husband, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy,

    often.

  • Olena Zelenska told CNN that their relationship was "on pause."
  • She said her kids can only talk to Zelenskyy on the phone, and that they are "waiting to be reunited."

Ukraine's first lady told CNN her relationship with her husband, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, was "on pause" as they're forbidden to see 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 Zelenskyy 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," Zelenska told CNN.


Video: Ukraine's Zelenskyy hails 'historic' week ahead for his country (NBC News)

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"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 said.

"We ... are waiting to be reunited, to be together again, to spend evenings together, to talk to the children about their things."

Both Zelenskyy and his wife have refused to leave Ukraine since Russia invaded on February 24.

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

In her CNN interview, 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." 

"It's very difficult to hold on for five months," Zelenska said. "We need to accumulate our strength, we need to save our energy."

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