When her husband, President Volodymyr Zelensky, called for the nations of the world to supply Ukraine with weapons, Olena Zelenska was asking for an ambulance.
Ms. Zelenska, who has recently become a very vocal supporter of humanitarian causes in her country, raised more than $5 million in over a week to help replenish the vehicle supply. save the country. Campaign, that is still donating, raised enough funds to buy nearly 50 ambulances, although Ms. Zelenska estimates that 400 are needed.
In an interview with a Ukrainian television network on Saturday, Ms. Zelenska encouraged more donations, no matter how small.
“Now any amount matters,” she said. She added, “I’m grateful to everyone who joined our initiative.”
While his frequent video addresses have made Mr. Zelensky a familiar face since the start of the Russian invasion in February, the first lady has increasingly become the focus of attention in recent weeks. recent week.
Earlier this month, she made a rare appearance in Washington to address Congress, demanding more weapons to defend against Russia. Emphasizing the human toll of the war, Ms. Zelenska presented photos of children who had lost a parent or a limb in the attacks.
She has also used her image outside the diplomatic sphere: Last week, Ms Zelenska appeared on the cover of Vogue for an article titled “Portrait of Courage”.
The ambulance initiative started in Summit of First Ladies and Gentlemenwas organized by Ms. Zelenska on July 23 to discuss the reconstruction of Ukraine after the war.
Each ambulance costs about $100,000 and is equipped with oxygen tanks, a defibrillator, an electrocardiogram, a heart machine and a mechanical ventilator, according to United24, the donating public charity. They can also be driven off-road, an important function in wartime conditions.
According to Ms. Zelenska, she has received donations from 51 countries, led by donations from Ukraine, the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom and Israel.