Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska was visibly moved when she learned about a helicopter crash in the town of Brovary in Kyiv Oblast before speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, media reported on Jan. 18.
According to UK daily newspaper Daily Mail, Zelenska had to compose herself moments before speaking in Davos today.
“Mrs. Zelenska, who was preparing to speak at a World Economic Forum session in the Swiss resort town, daubed teary eyes and pinched her nose in emotion upon hearing the news, moments before being handed a microphone,” the newspaper’s report says.
Zelenska is holding the meetings in Davos aimed at attracting aid to Ukraine in the war unleashed by Russia.
Before speaking, Zelenska was informed that 17 people had been killed as a result of the plane crash, including three children and the leadership of Ukraine’s Interior Ministry.
“‘Another very sad day today – new losses,’” she said.
“‘I think you understand my emotions. Perhaps they’re a little bit out of place in the political and economic dialogue, but I am sure that just as the war has changed the whole world, it has also changed all of our dialogue.’”
Ukrainian MP Alyona Shkrum also shared a photo of Zelenska from Davos on her Instagram.
“When you just want to crawl into a corner and close your ears and eyes, but you’re sitting in a room with CEOs of the world’s top companies – perhaps the most important event in Davos, you have to hold on to something,” the lawmaker said.
“The prime minister is speaking online, the First Lady is speaking, her voice is barely trembling. Next, the IMF director, the economy minister and questions from the CEO. That moment again when there is uncertainty and some feeling of unreality of what is happening. When colleagues die. When friends die. When children die.
“Colleague Denys Monastyrskyi. Interior Minister State Secretary Yuriy (Lubkovych), whom I have known for more than 14 years. We were once on an internship program at the Parliament of Canada together, and since then I remember his constant smile at every meeting and hug. He was the one who always picked up the phone, day or night, always helped, answered in a minute.
“No comments. You grit your teeth. You stand up. You shake hands. You remind yourself again why we do what we do.
“Sit tibi terra levis, (May the earth be light upon you),” she concluded, quoting the Latin funerary invocation.