As part of her visit to the USA, First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska held a meeting with First Lady of the United States of America Jill Biden at the White House. The wife of the Ukrainian President was also met at the entrance to the White House by US President Joseph Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
During the event, the parties discussed the National Program of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support, the implementation of which started in Ukraine. For its implementation, expert consultations of foreign, in particular American, specialists in overcoming the consequences of traumatic situations caused by war are needed.
The First Ladies of Ukraine and the United States paid considerable attention to a number of humanitarian projects aimed at alleviating the suffering of people from war. In particular, they discussed the treatment of Ukrainian children in the USA and their prosthetics in American clinics, as well as a number of educational initiatives and assistance to temporarily forced IDPs.
The First Lady of Ukraine also held a meeting with Douglas Emhoff - the first ever Second Gentleman of the USA, the husband of the country's Vice President Kamala Harris. The meeting took place in an extended format. It was also attended by: US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Surgeon General of the United States Vivek Murthy, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, First Deputy Administrator of USAID Isobel Coleman, Senior Director for Europe at the US National Security Council Amanda Sloat.
Olena Zelenska emphasized that although it may sound unusual from the First Lady, the most important thing today is supplying Ukraine with powerful, high-precision weapons that will help us protect children and civilians and speed up the victory in the war.
The President's wife also spoke about the "Book of Torturers of the Ukrainian People" project, which collects confirmed data on war criminals from the Russian army. She thanked the United States for its significant efforts at the United Nations not only to condemn Russia, but also to isolate it and deprive it of a seat in the UN Human Rights Council. She called for further strengthening of sanctions and recognition of Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.
In addition, on the second day of the visit, Olena Zelenska had lunch with influential American women. In particular, it was attended by: Marcy Kaptur – congresswoman, co-chair of the Ukrainian Caucus in Congress; Robin Dunnigan – Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia; Dr. Beth Van Schaack – US Department of State Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice; Ambassador Melanne Verveer – Executive Director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security; Dr. Alina Polyakova – President and CEO of the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA); Dr. Evelyn Farkas – President and Executive Director of the McCain Institute for International Leadership; Margaret Brennan – a CBS journalist.
"The concept of "powerful woman" in Ukraine and America is the same: a woman undertakes responsibility and makes decisions in the most difficult situations. I have told the American powerful women, including diplomats and senators, about strong Ukrainian women. Each of us is such. About those who fight in the ranks of the Armed Forces, who go to work under fire, who start all over again in a new place for the sake of children. We have a whole country of powerful women!" said Olena Zelenska during the meeting.
The First Lady had the honor of receiving the Dissident Human Rights Award, awarded to the entire Ukrainian people, at the Memorial to the Victims of Communism in Washington. It is an educational, research and human rights non-profit organization established in 1993 by a unanimous decision of Congress. Since 2015, the Dissident Human Rights Award has been awarded to activists and dissidents - representatives of oppressed peoples for their courage in defending human rights and freedom.
This year, for the first time, it was awarded not to a specific person, but to the entire people of Ukraine for the "courageous struggle for freedom and against Russia's war of aggression."
"Although the Memorial is dedicated to the victims of the crimes of communism, it is worth remembering that communism is only one face of totalitarianism. The system that attacks you can be called anything, but we can easily recognize totalitarianism by its main features - aggression, violence, complete devaluation of human life. This is exactly what Ukraine is dealing with in the face of today's Russia," said the President's wife, receiving the award.
She emphasized that now Ukraine is fighting against the new totalitarianism not only for itself, but also for the whole world.