“It’s very difficult to hold out for five months,” Zelenska told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. “We need to pool our strength, we need to conserve our energy.”
“We cannot see the end of our suffering,” she said.
Russian forces eliminated most of the Ukrainian defenses in the Luhansk region and consolidated their control over a belt of territory in the south. Luhansk and neighboring Donetsk make up Ukraine’s Donbass region, an industrial heartland dotted with factories and coalfields that has been home to sporadic fighting since 2014, when Russian-backed separatists seized two regions – the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic.
“We have been shocked many times. I don’t know what else the occupiers can shock us with,” Zelenska said.
Since then, the fighting has moved away from Kyiv, allowing the family to meet – but not for long periods of time.
Zelenska said their experience is not unique. She estimated that half of Ukrainian families were scattered by the war.
“Our relationship is off, as is the case with all Ukrainians,” she said. “We, like every family, are waiting for our reunion, to be together again.”
Zelenska said that the photo showed a series of destroyed buildings and bombing, and there was only one thing left – a closet.
“I am like that treasury in Borodianka,” said Zelenska. “I’m trying to hold on, just like that closet.”
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