Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska has recently taken on a more public role and visited the US this week to appeal for more weapons and air-defense systems. This is her first trip outside of Ukraine since Putin invaded the country in late February. Up to now, the US has provided around US$8 billion worth of assistance to Ukraine and is preparing to send more rocket systems to the country to expand its military’s missile range.
During an interview with NBC, Zelenska said that her 9-year-old son now only wants to learn “martial arts and how to use a rifle." She added that she hoped that her son’s childhood would be returned to him and how now he just wants to be a soldier. On Wednesday, Zelenska also spoke to Congress and showed photos of injured and dead children in the Ukraine war. “I am asking for weapons," Zelenska appealed. “Weapons … to protect one’s home and the right to wake up alive in that home."
Meanwhile, there has been media speculation that Putin is suffering from bad health, with some saying it’s cancer. But US CIA Director William Burns has come out to say that the group had no official evidence on this and, if anything, Putin appeared “entirely too healthy," he joked.
“I’m asking for something now I would never want to ask," Zelenska told Congress. “I’m asking for weapons — weapons that would not be used to wage a war on somebody else’s land, but to protect one’s home and the right to wake up alive in that home."
“Before the war, my son used to go to the folk dance ensemble. He played piano. He learned English. He of course attended sports club." Now, “the only thing he wants to do is martial arts and how to use a rifle. And that’s what I really want to ensure, is that the childhood of my son is given back to him and that he enjoys his life to the fullest," Zelenska said to NBC. “The war continues, “she added. “Please don’t forget about it."
“There are lots of rumors about President Putin’s health and, as far as we can tell, he’s entirely too healthy," said CIA Director William Burns at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado. He added that Putin is “a big believer in control, intimidation and getting even."
“[Putin] is convinced that his destiny as Russia’s leader is to restore Russia as a great power. He believes the key to doing that is to recreate a sphere of influence in Russia’s neighborhood, and he cannot do that without controlling Ukraine," said Burns.
“In recent months, Ukrainian, American and British so-called information ‘specialists’ have thrown around various fakes about the health of the president. But it is nothing but fakes," Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters on Thursday.