Impose a No-fly Zone and We will Deal with the War on the Ground – the Letter from the First Lady of Ukraine

Lately, numerous media outlets have contacted me to record an interview. This letter is the answer to all these requests and my word as a witness from Ukraine.

It was impossible to believe what happened a little over a week ago. Our country was quiet; Our towns and villages are full of life. On February 24, we all woke up to the news of a Russian attack. Tanks crossed the border into Ukraine, planes violated our airspace, rocket launchers surrounded our cities.

Despite claims from Kremlin’s propaganda that the events are a “special operation”, the fact is that this is a mass murder of Ukrainian citizens. Probably the most horrifying and sad part of this attack is the death of a child – 8-year-old Ellis, who died on the streets of Okhtirka, whom his grandfather tried to protect. Or Polina from Kiev, who died in the bombing along with her parents. 14-year-old Arsen, who was hit in the back by debris and could not be rescued because an ambulance could not arrive in time due to the fire.

Russia says that “this is not a war against civilians”, so I will first mention the names of the children killed.

Our women and children now live in mine shelters and basements. Probably everyone has seen the photos of Kiev and Kharkov metro stations, where people are lying on the floor with children and pets – locked up. For some it’s just a result of the war, for Ukrainians it’s a horrific reality. In some cities, families are unable to leave shelters for days because of indiscriminate and relentless bombing that destroys civilian buildings.

The first newborn of the war saw the ceiling of the basement, breathed in the cramped air of the underground bunker for the first time, and the people witnessing their the first moments were locked up, frightened people. Currently, dozens of children have never seen peace. This war is being waged against civilians and not just because of the bombing. Some people need intensive care and constant treatment that they cannot get. How easy is it to make insulin in the basement? Or take asthma medications during a fire? Not to mention the thousands of oncology patients for whom essential chemotherapy and radiation treatment have been discontinued.

Locals are hopeless on social media. Many people, including the elderly, the seriously ill, and the disabled, are separated from their families and no longer have any support. The war declared against these innocent people is double the crime. Our roads are congested with refugees. Look into the eyes of these tired women and the children who will bear the heartache of leaving behind the loved ones and the life they had. The men who take them to the border can not hold back their tears as the families separate, but they still return heroically to the battlefield to protect our freedom. In spite of everything, despite all the horrific events, the Ukrainians do not give up.

Aggressor Putin thought he would take Ukraine by blitzkrieg, but he could not properly assess our country, our people and their patriotism. Ukrainians, despite their political views, mother tongue, faith and nationality, showed incomparable unity.

The Kremlin propaganda claimed that the Ukrainians, as survivors, would be greeted with flowers, but they are greeted with Molotov cocktails. I am grateful to the residents of the cities that were attacked for providing coordinated assistance to anyone who needed it. I am also grateful to those who work in pharmacies, shops, public transport, social services, because they have shown that life in Ukraine wins.

I must mention all those who have provided humanitarian assistance to our citizens and thank them for their continued support. Thanks to the neighbors who opened the borders and sheltered the women and children, thank you for being safe when the aggressor limited our ability to do so.

Thanks to people all over the world who have organized marches in support of Ukraine. We see you! We keep an eye on you and appreciate the support.

Ukraine wants peace, but will defend its borders, its identity and it will never fall. In cities where bombing continues, where people are trapped under rubble, unable to get out of basements, we need safe corridors to provide humanitarian aid and evacuation. We need those who have the authority to impose a no-fly zone to do it! 

Close the sky and we will deal with the ongoing war on the ground.

I am addressing the media: Keep telling the truth and cover the current events in Ukraine. All the evidence is vital in the context of the war waged by the Russian Federation.

With this letter I confirm and tell the world: the current war in Ukraine is not a “war somewhere”. This is a war in Europe, near the border of the European Union. Ukraine is trying to stop the force that may invade your cities tomorrow and call it the protection of its citizens to justify it.

To me and my people, last week it all seemed like an exaggeration, but today it is a reality in which we live. We do not know how long it will take. If we do not stop Putin, who is threatening to start a nuclear war, there will be no safe place for anyone.

We will win, because of our unity, the common love of Ukraine. Glory to Ukraine!


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