‘Thank you, our heroes’: Zelensky issues Father’s Day message for those who have taken up arms
President Zelensky celebrated the “heroes” who defend Ukraine in a Father’s Day Instagram post.
The Kiev leader, a father of two, posted a series of photos of brave fathers taken during the war.
He wrote: ‘Being a father is a great responsibility and a great happiness.
“It’s strength, wisdom, motivation to keep going and not give up.
Father of two Zelensky pictured with wife Olena, both 44, at a funeral in May 2022
Zelensky shared a series of photos showing the bravery of Ukrainian fathers in the war
‘And as difficult as it is – to protect and defend the most precious thing.’
Ukrainian President and his wife Olena attend a state dinner in Tokyo, 2019
Mr Zelensky added: ‘The future of your family, your children and therefore of the whole of Ukraine.
“Thank you, our heroes.”
Twelve hours after publication, the post had more than 435,000 likes.
Volodymyr and wife Olena Zelenska, both 44, have two daughters, Oleksandra, 17, and a son Kyrylo, nine.
Mrs. Zelenska left Kiev with their two children at the beginning of the war.
They fled to an undisclosed location in Ukraine, away from the capital.
Last month, Ms Zelenska said she had them with her as her husband took on the mountainous task of leading a country in the midst of war.
“Luckily, we’ve been able to organize our lives so that they don’t have to go anywhere, and neither do I,” she said.
‘Naturally, [Oleksandra] graduated, we are all concerned.
One of the photos shows a father holding his child at a train station as he prepares to say goodbye
Volodymyr Zelensky (left) and Olenska Zelenska (right) are pictured in Kyiv on July 21, 2019
“This is an important milestone in her life and unfortunately it happens at such a difficult time in the life of our family and in the life of our country in general.
“There will be no ball. Nothing’s going to happen. We graduate from high school remotely. But she’s going to apply (at the university) in Ukraine.’
She added that her son Kyryo was “like all children now” and studied at home.
The first lady said, “I’m in this process. I really want our children to go back to school on September 1.
“I’m just trying to get through this whole period… and the divorce.
“Our family is divorced. I see Volodymyr regularly here at the office. I could come in to see him, if he’s not in a meeting today I’ll greet him.
‘The kids? They somehow understand that this period will end someday, but the questions ‘when?’ are constantly present in our family.’
Ms Zelenska said in her first interview since the beginning of the war earlier in May: ‘No one will take my husband from me, not even the war.
Another photo shared today shows a father saying goodbye to his departing children
“I can’t say that Volodymyr has changed since the beginning of this war. He used to be a reliable husband and a reliable man, and he remains so.’
“His stance hasn’t changed, the way he’s wired hasn’t changed.”
Zelensky’s Father’s Day post came as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg pushed for more heavy weapons to Ukraine.
A Uniformed Dad Holds His Child in a Buzz Lightyear Blanket in a Kiev Metro Station
Stoltenberg said in The Hague: ‘Ukraine should have more heavy weapons. And NATO allies and partners have been supplying heavy weapons for a long time, but they are also on the rise.’
Ukraine claims it has received only 10 percent of the weapons promised by its Western allies.
Deputy Defense Minister Anna Maylar said, “No matter how hard Ukraine tries, no matter how professional our military is, we will not be able to win this war without the help of Western partners.”
Zelensky shared the powerful photos in an effort to inspire Ukrainians to continue their efforts