Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska has paid tribute to the women of Ukraine in a moving Instagram post

Ukraine's first lady has been hailed for her bravery since the start of the war

Ukraine's first lady has been hailed for her bravery since the start of the war

On this International Women's Day, as Ukraine burns and women and children queue for over 100 hours at various borders attempting to seek shelter from oncoming bombs, Olena Zelenska, Ukraine's first lady has posted an tribute to the women of Ukraine and a plea to the women of Russia on her Instagram.

Writing in Ukrainian underneath a slideshow of images depicting female soldiers, doctors, mothers and support workers, Zelenska acknowledged that there are two million more men in women that Ukraine, somethat that: "means our current resistance has a particularly female face.”

She dedicated the post to her "incredible (female) compatriots", who she "bows" to for their heroic war efforts. Saying:

“To those who fight in the ranks of zsu, and those who have signed up for teroboronu. Those who heal, save, feed. To the volunteers who find everything necessary for it. And those who continue to do their usual jobs - in pharmacies, shops, on transport, in utilities, so that life lasts and wins.

“To those who take children to shelters every day without panic and entertain them with games and cartoons to save children’s consciousness from war. To those who give birth in bomb shelters. Today is the first day of spring. Remember how we all celebrated each other on this day before the war (again that scary phrase)?

“So the sun is visible through the smoke of the shelling. Everything will be spring, everything will be victory, everything will be Ukraine 🇺🇦.”.

A photo posted by on

In the days since Zelenska's post, the United Nations reported that more than two million people have now fled Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion nearly two weeks ago, more than half of them going to neighbouring Poland.

Despite Russian guarantees for safe civillian passage, Ukrainian cities have continued to come under heavy bombardment, the south-eastern city of Mauripol has been shelled extensively, including an evacuation route, which has prevented women, children and elderly people from leaving according to Ukraine's defence ministry.

In another post from yesterday, uploaded in English, Ukrainian, German, Russian, French and German, no doubt in order to address the major European Nato powers, Zelenska again outlined the desperate situation unfolding in Ukraine.

In a stark opening caption she said: "The Russian occupiers are killing Ukrainian children. Consciously and cynically." Before using specific case examples of the many civilians and children who have lost their lives as a result of the Russian bombardment.

A photo posted by on

"18-month-old Kirill from Mariupol was urgently taken to the hospital by his parents. He was wounded by the shelling, and doctors could do nothing.

"Alice from Okhtyrka. She could have turned eight years old. However, she died in the shelling with her grandfather, who was protecting her.

"Polina from Kyiv. She died during the shelling on the streets of our capital, along with her parents and brother. Her sister is in critical condition."

Zelenska directed this post at people in Russia, who may have been taken in by the propoganda spread by government controlled media platforms spinning a false narrative of Russian victory and pacifism.

But she specifically appealed to Russian women:

"Russian invaders are killing Ukrainian children. Tell it to Russian mothers - let them know what exactly their sons are doing here, in Ukraine."

"Show these photos to Russian women - your husbands, brothers, compatriots are killing Ukrainian children! Let them know that they are personally responsible for the death of every Ukrainian child because they gave their tacit consent to these crimes."

Juliana Piskorz

Juliana Piskorz is a freelance journalist and broadcaster. Over the course of her career she has written for a smorgasbord of magazines and national newspapers including The Sunday Times, Dazed and Confused, the Independent, the Guardian, Refinery29 and The Face among others.

Before going freelance, Juliana was the Digital Editor at the Evening Standard Magazine and a Staff Writer at the Observer Magazine.

Juliana has a partcular interest in art, fashion, travel and the pop culture.