President of Ukraine

Olena Zelenska arrives at the coronation ceremony of His Majesty Charles III

4 May 2023 - 23:03

Olena Zelenska arrives at the coronation ceremony of His Majesty Charles III

The visit of First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has begun.

Olena Zelenska visited 10 Downing Street at the invitation of Akshata Murthy, the wife of the British Prime Minister.

The First Lady of Ukraine thanked the UK for its support of Ukraine, in particular for organizing the Eurovision Song Contest together with Ukrainian partners.

"The inability of the winning country to host this competition should be another reminder to the world of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine," she emphasized.

Olena Zelenska also noted another important event - the Conference on Rebuilding Ukraine, which will be held in June this year in London.

The meeting was also joined by Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Rishi Sunak.

"I am confident that the Conference will significantly accelerate the practical implementation of measures to restore Ukraine. We expect concrete results and decisions. Against the background of the importance of providing military assistance, the issue of helping the civilian population is no less important. Reconstruction of hospitals and schools. Treatment of the wounded. Providing psychological support," the First Lady emphasized.

The President's wife extended an invitation to Akshata Murthy to the third First Ladies and Gentlemen Summit to be held on September 6 in Kyiv and dedicated to mental health.

Olena Zelenska noted that this event strengthens the role of first ladies and soft power in the world to improve the lives of different countries and peoples.

"We are training your military, but in reality, you are training us. We are learning from Ukraine and Ukrainians how to be so strong and resilient," the Prime Minister's wife said.

After the meeting, the First Lady of Ukraine and Akshata Murthy visited the British Library together.

It is one of the largest libraries in the world with 1.5 million visits per year. As one of the six libraries in the UK mandatory for replenishment, it collects copies of everything published in the country, including print and digital editions (almost 300 thousand physical items and over 240 thousand digital items annually). The collection, which is constantly growing, contains more than 170 million copies, including 100 thousand of Ukrainian rare editions, press, and documents.

Since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the British Library has organized numerous events dedicated to Ukrainian culture and literature, including the Worldwide Reading of Ukrainian Literature. The institution is part of a coalition of cultural and non-governmental organizations led by ALIPH to establish digitization centers in Ukraine to help libraries and archives digitize their collections. Earlier, the British Library hosted a presentation of the Books Without Borders project initiated by the First Lady of Ukraine, which printed 16,000 books in Ukrainian for children arriving in the UK.

The First Lady got acquainted with the Ukrainian collection of the British Library and, together with the Chief Executive of the institution, Sir Roly Keating, presented the Ukrainian Bookshelf there. This project of the First Lady to promote Ukrainian literature in libraries around the world has already included 170 shelves in 37 countries (about 44 thousand books).

On the occasion of the opening of the shelf, Olena Zelenska and the wife of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom spoke with Ukrainian children and read excerpts from the works of contemporary Ukrainian writer Volodymyr Nikitenko in Ukrainian and English.

"In places like this, you can clearly see how books personify entire nations, and libraries can literally connect countries," the First Lady emphasized.