As part of her visit to New York for the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska held meetings with Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres, Prime Minister of Great Britain Liz Truss, First Lady of France Brigitte Macron and Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Natalia Kanem.
During a meeting with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, in which Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal also took part, the First Lady thanked António Guterres for his personal efforts and the efforts of the leadership of the UN Secretariat and the entire free democratic world, which today supports and helps the Ukrainian people.
The President’s wife noted the need to protect children suffering from Russian aggression.
“Your decision to include the situation in Ukraine in this year’s report on children in armed conflicts was fundamentally important to us, as it will ensure proper monitoring by the UN system of crimes against children committed daily by the Russian occupiers in our country,” said Olena Zelenska.
For his part, Denys Shmyhal thanked António Guterres for his consistent support to Ukraine and emphasized the need for wider involvement of UN organizations’ capabilities in Ukraine for humanitarian response in the territories liberated by the Ukrainian Armed Forces from Russian occupation.
“This is the Kharkiv region, in which more than 300 settlements with 150 thousand people have been de-occupied. The assistance of the UN in these territories is vital. It is urgent to provide the affected population with financial, psychological, social and medical aid, assistance in the restoration and repair of civil infrastructure, as well as humanitarian demining,” he stressed.
Olena Zelenska called on the Secretary-General of the United Nations to assist in the liberation of Ukrainian women and doctors from Russian captivity, who, according to the Geneva Conventions, are not considered combatants. Among them are pregnant women and mothers of very young children.
“The voice of the UN is heard in all countries, even in the aggressor country. And we hope that the United Nations will use it to protect our children,” the First Lady emphasized.
The President’s wife also held a meeting with Prime Minister of Great Britain Liz Truss.
“I am grateful on behalf of the entire people of Ukraine for the principled and uncompromising support we receive from Great Britain during all these months of resistance to the aggressor,” Olena Zelenska said.
Discussing the situation in Ukraine with Liz Truss, the First Lady together with Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba and Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the UN Serhiy Kyslytsya emphasized the terrible consequences of the Russian occupation: the forced deportation of Ukrainian children, filtration camps, crimes against humanity committed by the Russians, for which there is no justification.
“This is a gross violation of international humanitarian law and a war crime. We are already thinking about recovery, so we call on you to join the Fast Recovery Plan and help rebuild Ukraine,” said the First Lady.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba expressed gratitude to Liz Truss for her consistent and firm support of Ukraine in the fight against Russian aggression.
“In this difficult time, the Ukrainian people can rely on the support of our British friends, and I am convinced that under the leadership of Liz Truss it will only grow stronger. Ever since our joint work as heads of diplomatic departments, I have been convinced of her dedication to the goal of Ukraine’s victory,” noted Dmytro Kuleba.
In addition, Olena Zelenska discussed the restoration of Ukraine with the Prime Minister – Great Britain is ready to help in the reconstruction of the Kyiv region, as well as to carry out international coordination of the restoration of our country. Great Britain will also host the next conference on the recovery of Ukraine.
“All Ukrainians hope for help from Great Britain, as your state plays an extremely important role in consolidating international support for Ukraine,” Olena Zelenska emphasized.
During a meeting with First Lady of the French Republic Brigitte Macron at the Ukrainian Institute of America in New York, the wife of the President of Ukraine discussed the adaptation of Ukrainian children who are temporary immigrants in France.
“You can’t imagine how quickly they adapt, how quickly they learn French!” Brigitte Macron said.
Olena Zelenska asked for the introduction of a flexible school attendance schedule for Ukrainian children in France.
“In many countries, our parents now have to choose between a local school and their native school, but if the governments make an effort, there will be no need to abandon anything,” said the First Lady of Ukraine.
The wife of the President of Ukraine also held a meeting with the Executive Director of the UN Population Fund Natalia Kanem, during which humanitarian projects to help Ukrainians were discussed.
“Recently in Lviv, I visited a center for helping victims – one of four that was opened with the support of UNFPA. It is especially important that they have psychologists working with people, because the issue of mental health of Ukrainians is one of the priorities of our work,” said Olena Zelenska.
For her part, Natalia Kanem emphasized that this is a relevant topic for the Fund, and its experts within the working group could create a new model for Ukraine on the basis of the available models of psychosocial assistance and later scale it to other countries.
“I am sure that we can do it together,” said Natalia Kanem.