Ukraine’s first lady calls for unceasing global unity against Russia’s aggression
Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska made an emphatic appeal on Thursday for unflagging global solidarity behind her country’s struggle against Russia’s aggression, stressing the “democratic values of the entire world” are at stake in the prolonged conflict.
In an exclusive written interview with Yonhap news agency, Zelenska cautioned against any apathy toward the war touched off by Russia’s February 24 invasion and delivered an impassioned message: “Do not get used to the war.”
“I would like to emphasise that there is no place for a neutral position in this war,” the wife of President Volodymyr Zelensky said. “You cannot dismiss it as something distant and irrelevant, because this war threatens not only Ukraine but also the democratic values of the whole world.”
She then stressed Ukraine is in need of “everything,” ranging from humanitarian aid and weapons to assistance for its post-war reconstruction.
The interview came as global attention appears to have relatively diminished compared with the initial stage of the war when the entire world was acutely aghast at the biggest conflict on European soil since the end of World War II in 1945.
Zelenska accentuated the importance of media attention, saying, “Indifference kills (people) indirectly.”
“This is my message to the media — give Ukraine maximum coverage and do not stop,” she said.
As part of her plea for Seoul’s support, Zelenska drew a comparison between South Korea’s experience of the 1950-53 war and the ongoing tragedy in Ukraine, saying the two countries have “a lot in common.”
“You, like us, know what it’s like to live next door to a neighbor who constantly threatens not only you, but the entire world with nuclear weapons,” she said.
“In the 1950s, the Western world came together to help South Korea win its war for freedom. Now the Western world has also united around Ukraine.”
Since the outbreak of the war, Zelenska has been at the vanguard of efforts to spread information about the devastating repercussions of Russia’s invasion and drum up global backing for Ukraine’s grueling fight against an invading Russia and for its post-war rehabilitation.
Her current role marked a shift from the traditional first-lady activities centering on humanitarian and cultural realms, she said.
“Before the war, we worked to improve food at schools to make it healthier and more balanced, but now we have to think about how to protect our children from famine,” she said. “Who would have thought that in the 21st century a first lady in a country in the center of Europe would face such tasks?”
“Humanitarian crises” are serious in Ukrainian cities occupied by Russia, she pointed out.
“I am simply scared to even imagine what is happening now in the occupied Ukrainian cities,” she said. “The Russians create humanitarian crises … so that people are forced to collect rainwater so that they don’t die of thirst, so that people simply stop feeling like people.”
Those crises have obviously taken a significant toll on children. Zelenska cited instances of a girl with gunshot wounds getting behind the wheel to drive four adults to safety and a women’s youngest son taking care of his mother and older sister in the hospital.
“This is what we see every day in our news. All Ukrainian children instantly became adults on Feb. 24,” she said.
Watching such ordeals, the first lady, a mother of two children herself, vowed to “fight for every child” and help the young generations overcome their “enormous trauma” inflicted by the ongoing tragedy.
“I would tell the children that we fight this war for the right to live in our own home, to speak our own language, to invite whoever we want as a guest,” she said. “This is a fight for the right to be a free person.”
Zelenska plans to host the virtual “First Ladies and Gentlemen Summit” on July 23 to discuss a wide range of issues related to the conflict, such as displaced people, education, children and women.
The transcript of her interview was written in Ukrainian and translated unofficially into English.
Atif Aslam, wife Sara welcome baby girl in holy month of Ramzan
Pakistani playback singer Atif Aslam, who is known for chartbusters such as ‘Aadat’, ‘Bakhuda’, ‘Jeena Jeena’, ‘Jaane De’ and several others, has become a proud faher as he and his wife Sara Bharwana welcome a baby girl.
The ‘Tajdar-e-Haram’ hitmaker took to his Instagram on Thursday to share the news of his baby’s arrival with his fans. He posted a picture of his daughter wrapped up in pink colour baby sleepwear.
The baby is named Halima.
He wrote in the caption: “Finally the wait is over. The new queen of my heart has arrived.”
“Both baby and Sarah are fine Alhamdulilah. Please do remember us in your prayers. Ramadan Mubarak from Halima Atif Aslam 23/03/2023.”
He also added #Ramadan in the caption.
Atif has sung many songs in Bollywood films including ‘Tere Sang Yaara’ from ‘Rustom’, ‘Tu Jaane Na’ and ‘Tera Hone Laga Hoon’ from ‘Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani’ and ‘Tere Bin’ from ‘Bas Ek Pal’.
FIRST ROZA ON THURSDAY IN SAUDI ARABIA & JERUSALEM OR PALESTINE
JERUSALEM: The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine, Mohammad Hussein, declared that Thursday, March 23, will be the first day of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.
RIYADH: The crescent moon was not sighted on Tuesday evening in Saudi Arabia and Thursday, March 23, will be the start of the holy month of Ramadan, the Kingdom’s Supreme Court has said.
The court called on all Muslims in the Kingdom to look for the Ramadan crescent on Tuesday evening that corresponds to Shaban 29, 1444.
The Ministry of Justice announced it has launched an electronic system for crescent sighting “with the aim of automating and governing the moon sighting processes, and unifying work procedures between the courts of first instance and the Supreme Court.”
The service aims to unify the data source of the observatory through a robust electronic system that provides speed and integration with the relevant authorities, raising the quality of the observatory operations, and speeding up the issuance of the Supreme Court’s decision regarding new moon sightings.
More than 1.9 billion Muslims around the world will mark the holy month, during which believers abstain from eating, drinking and smoking from dawn until sunset.
Indian flag pulled down by pro-Khalistani protesters at London mission; MEA summons UK diplomat
The tricolour flying atop the Indian High Commission in London was pulled down by a group of protesters waving Khalistani flags and chanting pro-Khalistani slogans on Sunday evening.
Scotland Yard, headquarters of Metropolitan Police, said it was “aware” of an incident in the area but is yet to issue an official statement.
India has, meanwhile, registered its strong protest with the British government over the safety of its diplomatic mission and questioned the lack of sufficient security at the premises.
Images of shattered windows and men climbing the India House building were circulating on social media and videos from the scene show an Indian official grabbing the flag from a protester through the first-floor window of the mission, while the protester is seen waving a Khalistan flag hanging off its ledge.
MEA summons UK diplomat
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the senior-most UK diplomat in New Delhi was summoned late evening on Sunday to convey India’s “strong protest” at the actions taken by separatist and extremist elements against the Indian High Commission in London.
“An explanation was demanded for the complete absence of the British security that allowed these elements to enter the High Commission premises. She was reminded in this regard of the basic obligations of the UK Government under the Vienna Convention,” the MEA said in a statement.
“India finds unacceptable the indifference of the UK government to the security of Indian diplomatic premises and personnel in the UK. It is expected that the UK Government would take immediate steps to identify, arrest and prosecute each one of those involved in today’s incident, and put in place stringent measures to prevent the recurrence of such incidents,” it said.
The banned terrorist organisation, Sikhs For Justice, is conducting a so-called “Referendum 2020” amid a crackdown on pro-Khalistan leader Amritpal Singh in Punjab.
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