Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska tells the BBC that Ukraine will endure this coming winter despite the cold and the blackouts caused by Russian missiles, and will keep fighting what she describes as a war of world views, because “without victory there can be no peace”.
We meet in a storied city where a winter’s chill is biting, where charming street lamps are dimmed, where buildings are going dark and cold in the midst of blackouts as Russia keeps striking Ukraine’s energy grid. The Ukrainian people have won plaudits for standing their ground against Russia’s blistering assault. But this is yet another painful test of fortitude.
“We are ready to endure this”, - Zelenska asserts when we sit down in a heavily secured compound tucked inside a sandbagged labyrinth of buildings in Kyiv.
“We’ve had so many terrible challenges, seen so many victims, so much destruction, that blackouts are not the worst thing to happen to us”. She cites a recent poll where 90 % of Ukrainians said they were ready to live with electricity shortages for two to three years if they could see the prospect of joining the European Union.