CA: Your husband has spoken directly in Russian to the Russian people, but it’s obviously difficult to reach them. Given the atrocities that have been committed to your people, do you have a message, particularly for Russian mothers and wives, that you think they should hear right now?
OZ: The level of Russian propaganda is often compared to Goebbels’ propaganda during World War II. But in my opinion, it exceeds [that], because in the Second World War there was no internet and access to information, such as now.
Now everyone can see the war crimes — for example, those committed by the Russians in Bucha, where the bodies of civilians with their hands tied simply lay in the streets.
But the problem is that the Russians do not want to see what the whole world sees, [in order] to feel more comfortable. After all, it is easier to say: “It’s all fake,” and go drink your coffee than to read the story of a particular person who died, look at her relatives and friends who are in grief.
For example, read the story of one of the victims [in] Bucha, a woman named Tatiana, who was shot by a Russian bullet, and her husband, who asked the invaders to take away the body, but was beaten and bound.
How to make Russians see this? I am more and more inclined to think that, unfortunately, not at all, they are blind in belief. They do not want to hear and see. I will not address them anymore.
The main thing for Ukraine today is that the whole other world hears and sees us, and it is important that our war does not become “habitual,” so that our victims do not become statistics. That’s why I communicate with people through foreign media.
Don’t get used to our grief!
CA: You are reportedly the second highest target of Russian forces, after your husband. How do you keep your resolve in the face of such danger? What made you choose to stay in Ukraine?
OZ: For some reason I am constantly asked this question. But if you look closely, it becomes clear that every Ukrainian is a target for Russians: Every woman, every child.
Those who died the other day from a Russian missile [while] trying to evacuate from Kramatorsk were not members of the presidential family, they were just Ukrainians. So the number one target for the enemy is all of us.
CA: You have used your social media accounts as a platform to pay tribute to Ukrainian soldiers and the Ukrainian resistance. How proud are you of your country — particularly of what you have called the “feminine face” of Ukrainian resistance?
OZ: On the first day of the war it became clear that there was no panic. Yes, Ukrainians did not believe in war — we believed in civilized dialogue. But when the attack took place, we did not become a “frightened crowd,” as the enemy had hoped. No. We became an organized community.
At once, the political and other controversies that exist in every society disappeared. Everyone came together to protect their home.
I see examples every day, and I never get tired of writing about it. Yes, Ukrainians are incredible.
And indeed, I write a lot about our women, because their participation is everywhere — they are in the armed forces and the defense forces, most of them are medics. And they are the ones who take children and families to safety. For example, only they can go abroad. So, in some ways their role is even more diverse than men’s; this is more than equality!
Editor’s Note: Christiane Amanpour’s interview was published in CNN on 12 April 2022.
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Published: 13 April 2022.
Link to this article: https://tinyurl.com/Zelenska