“It’s very difficult to last five months,” Zelenskaya’s Christian Amanpour of CNN said. “We need to accumulate strength, we need to save energy.”
“We see no end to our suffering,” she said.
Russian forces destroyed most of the Ukrainian defenses in the Luhansk region and consolidated control over a strip of territory in the south. Luhansk and neighboring Donetsk together make up Ukraine’s Donbass, an industrial hub dotted with factories and coal fields that has been the site of sporadic fighting since 2014, when Russian-backed separatists seized control of two territories — the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic.
“We have been shocked many times. I don’t know how else the invaders can shock us,” Zelenskaya said.
Since then, the fighting has moved further away from Kyiv, which allowed the family to get together, but not for an extended period of time.
Their experience, according to Zelenskaya, is not unique. She calculated that half of all Ukrainian families were torn apart by the war.
“Our relationship is on pause, like all Ukrainians,” she said. “We, like every family, are waiting for the reunion so that we can be together again.”
The image, Zelenskaya said, shows a row of bombed-out, flattened buildings, of which only one item remains – a wardrobe.
“I’m like that closet on Borodyanka,” Zelenskaya said. “I’m trying to hold on like that closet.”