Ukraine’s First Lady Says Their 9-Year-Old Son Now Wants To Be A Soldier
“Before the war my son used to go to the folk dance ensemble. He played piano; he learned English.”
It has been several months since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of eastern Ukraine. In those long, difficult months, the world has looked to President Volodymyr Zelensky. The Ukrainian president has remained in the capital city of Kyiv alongside his countrymen in a bid to defend their country, despite his assertion in a statement that he is “target number one” for Putin and his wife, Olena Zelenska, and their two children are “targets number two.” As the Russia-Ukraine conflict continues and attention on the country’s leader is at an all-time high, here’s what you need to know about President Zelensky’s family.
President Zelensky met his wife at university.
Before becoming an actor and a comedian, prior to his political career, President Zelensky met his future wife while they both attended Kryvyi Rih National University, according to People. She was there to study architecture and screenwriting, and she has gone on to become a qualified architect. The pair dated for eight years before marrying in 2003, and at the time Zelensky was starting his own production company.
Zelensky was elected president in 2018 with nearly 73% of the vote with his grassroots parts known as Servant of the People, named after his hit satirical television show, which Olena helped write. And his wife suddenly found her life changed dramatically.
Olena didn’t initially want to be in politics.
Olena Zelensky didn’t want to be in politics.
After her husband’s surprising landslide victory, Olena admitted to Vogue Ukraine that she was “aggressively opposed” to her husband’s new role as president. Especially as it left her with almost no time as a private person. “I do not have enough time alone with myself. I have got two kids, so I have rarely been alone before. I probably have had my only private space in the car, while driving. Now they have deprived me of this — I am always guarded. Now a bathroom is my only retreat.”
While she might not have been on board in the beginning, Olena has worked hard throughout her time as First Lady on issues that are important to her like gender equality. And since Russia’s invasion, she has been reaching out to the Ukrainian people with bolstering Instagram posts full of pride in her country.
But she has since embraced her role as First Lady.
“My dear people! Ukrainians! I’m looking at you all today. Everyone I see on TV, on the streets, on the Internet,” she wrote on Instagram in February. “I see your posts and videos. And you know what? You are incredible! I am proud to live with you in the same country! And today I will not have panic and tears. I will be calm and confident. My children are looking at me. I will be next to them. And next to my husband. And with you.”
His family remains in Ukraine with him.
Zelensky’s family is still in the country.
Zelensky confirmed in a video address that his family remains in Ukraine with him. “They want to destroy Ukraine politically by destroying the head of state,” he said. “I will stay in the capital. My family is also in Ukraine. My children are also in Ukraine. My family is not traitors. They are the citizens of Ukraine. But I have no right to say where they are now."
Olena Zelensky is helping Ukrainians.
Olena remains dedicated to helping Ukrainians and sharing their plight. She shared a photo of a baby born in a bomb shelter with the caption, “This child was born in the Kyiv bomb shelter. This was to take place in completely different conditions, under peaceful skies. It is what children should see. But the main thing is that despite the war, there were doctors and caring people on our streets next to her. She will be protected and defended.”
Their daughter Aleksandra is 17 years old.
Zelensky’s daughter didn’t want him to run for a second term.
Volodymyr and Olena Zelensky welcomed their daughter Aleksandra in July 2004. The couple keep information about their children private for obvious security reasons, but Aleksandra did do a little acting with her dad before he became president. At 10 years old, she played his daughter in a movie called 8 New Dates, and when she was 12 years old she took part in a reality show called Laugh The Comedian where her dad was a juror.
Aleksandra is reportedly nearing the end of her schooling, and her dad admitted in an interview with a Ukrainian TV channel that she did not want him to run for president for a second term. “My daughter raises this issue; she doesn't want me to run for the second term,” he said in 2021, per the news outlet Report. “No matter how much I love her, it depends solely on the level of our capabilities.”
Their son Kyrylo is 9 years old.
In 2013, Olena and Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed their son Kyrylo, who is now just 9 years old. Not much is known about young Kyrylo, again for good reason. His parents are clearly prioritizing his safety. but in a rare family Instagram post from 2019, the Zelenskys were having a great afternoon of face painting. Both Kiril and his dad painted masks on their faces and looked to be having a blast.
The war has made Kyrylo want to be a soldier.
Olena sat down for an interview with NBC News in July, and shared how the war in her country has changed her 9-year-old son. “He wants to be a soldier,” she explained through a translator, adding that his interests have changed drastically since the war began. “You know before the war my son used to go to the folk dance ensemble. He played piano; he learned English; he of course did sports club.” Now, all he wants to do is practice martial arts and learn “how to use a rifle,” according to his mom.
This article was originally published on