Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska on being Russia’s target No 2: ‘When you see their crimes, maybe they really are capable of anything’

Her husband Volodymyr Zelenskiy is is leading his nation’s resistance to Putin’s invasion – and her family is under threat. In a rare interview, she reveals the toll of sudden war

In the early hours of 24 February, Olena Zelenska became aware of the sound of muffled booms somewhere in the distance. As she drifted towards wakefulness, she realised the sounds she was registering could not be fireworks. Her eyes snapped open; she discovered she was alone in the bed. She jumped up and hurried to the next room, where she found her husband, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, already dressed for work in a suit and tie.

“What’s going on?” she asked him.

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