Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : First Lady Olena Zelenska addressed the officials of the member states of the Council of Europe

The press release issued by the President of Ukraine on 8 April 2022.

First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska addressed the participants of the conference on the new Strategy for the Rights of the Child (2022-2027), which took place under the auspices of the Council of Europe.

The address of the President’s wife was read by the Ambassador of Ukraine to Italy Yaroslav Melnyk.

In her address to the participants of the event, the First Lady of Ukraine noted the importance of universal protection of children’s rights. She said that due to a full-scale Russian attack on our state, Ukrainian children cannot exercise their rights.

“Since the beginning of the war, the Russian Federation has violated the inalienable right of every child – the right to life guaranteed by the UN Convention. Due to the attack of the invader, all the rights of Ukrainian children are now completely violated. Because it turned out that for Russia all these rights do not matter. Our children’s right to medical treatment has been violated, as more than 270 medical institutions have been damaged or completely destroyed. The right to education has been violated. Despite the Safe Schools Declaration, more than 300 educational institutions have been intentionally damaged or destroyed. And about four million – half of our children! – became displaced persons: they no longer have their usual home. What’s worse is that there are hundreds of children in Ukraine with whom we have no contact. We simply don’t know anything about their fate! They are with their parents in the cities occupied by Russians or for which fighting is taking place,” said the First Lady.

She announced a moment of silence for 165 Ukrainian children whose deaths were confirmed at the time of her speech.

Olena Zelenska thanked the Council of Europe, which responded immediately to the unjustified and unprovoked aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, and on March 16 completed the procedure for excluding Russia from the organization, in accordance with Article 8 of its Charter.

At the same time, the President’s wife stated that the skies over Ukraine were never closed to Russian planes: “From the very beginning of the war, we asked NATO to close the skies over our cities, over Ukraine. To prevent bombs and rockets from falling on people. We were not heard. Well, now I ask you to at least ensure the right of children to get out of danger. They need real humanitarian corridors, because now the enemy is shooting at civilian cars as well as at military ones.”

She also called on the participants to ensure, in accordance with the declared goal of “child-friendly justice”, an international investigation and punishment for all Russians who in one way or another have committed and continue to commit violence against children in Ukraine.

In conclusion, Olena Zelenska wished the audience, including children from different countries, that there would be no war in their lives.

“But to this end, you need to know about such a threat. The right to know is also an inalienable right of adults and children,” the First Lady concluded.