Surprising Decision: Ukraine's First Lady Opts to Miss Joe Biden's State of the Union

Her office confirmed that Zelenska will not attend President Joe Biden's State of the Union

by Sead Dedovic
Surprising Decision: Ukraine's First Lady Opts to Miss Joe Biden's State of the Union
© Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images News

Olena Zelenska, Ukraine’s first lady, surprised many with her decision. Namely, her office confirmed that Zelenska will not attend President Joe Biden's State of the Union address to the U.S. Congress. Despite being invited by the White House, Zelenska has no intention of appearing.

“Due to planned events in the schedule, including the visit of children from an orphanage to Kyiv, which was planned in advance, unfortunately, the first lady will not be able to participate in the event,” her office told POLITICO.

Shortly afterward, American media began speculating about potential reasons why the Ukrainian first lady chose not to attend. One theory is that Zelenska will sit next to Yulia Navalnaya, the wife of the late oppositionist Alexei Navalny, whose death caused a global shock. Although discussions about his death and Putin's potential involvement are discussed, a clear picture of what happened has yet to emerge. World leaders believe everything about his death is clear.

Alexei Navalny
Alexei Navalny© 60 minutes / Youtube Channel

Interestingly, Alexei Navalny often mentioned Crimea in a context that displeased Ukrainian leaders. Even in October 2014, Navalny expressed astonishment in an interview when someone emphasized that 'Crimea is Ukrainian.' Navalny stated, 'Crimea is the people who live in Crimea. The peninsula was seized with a flagrant violation of all international norms, but is now part of Russia.' What particularly angered Ukrainians is that Navalny emphasized that Crimea will remain a part of Russia and will never become a part of Ukraine, at least not in the near future. Alongside the sorrow, the Russian opposition figure remarked, "Crimea is what, a sandwich with sausage to be returned here and there?"

The Ukrainian leadership, both then and now, fails to understand why Navalny chose to make such comments. This is one reason why many did not respect him, despite his opposition to Putin's ideas.

Of course, Navalny often emphasized the war in Ukraine, stating that Russians made the wrong move the moment they decided to attack Ukraine.

It is still unknown whether this is indeed the real reason for the Ukrainian first lady's decision or if there are entirely different reasons. Time will best reveal the truth in all of this.

Navalny's death has triggered a lot of reactions, not only from Ukraine but from around the world. A person who could have potentially become the new leader of Russia has passed away. Although some had anticipated that such an outcome might become a reality, few believed that the Russian leadership was prepared for such a move, especially considering a previous attempt on this oppositionist's life when he was poisoned. Fortunately, Navalny managed to survive that time, but a few years later,  someone succeeded in their intention.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy's reaction to the news of Navalny's death: They had one opposition leader, and they killed him

Volodymyr Zelenskyy immediately expressed his opinion on everything following the news of Navalny's death. The Ukrainian president has no doubt that Putin is the main culprit in the whole story. The only opposition figure who was a hope for Ukrainians and the entire world died in a Russian prison. 

Zelenskyy believes that things are crystal clear when it comes to this case. 

It seems that the Ukrainian leader is not satisfied with the reaction of the Russian leadership, which has decided not to speak much about Navalny's death. In such an atmosphere, Zelensky believes that it is hard to collaborate with Russians and reach any agreement in the future. 

The death of the Russian oppositionist will certainly be a topic in the future, considering that it is not clear how everything happened. Although Russians have an explanation for his death, the world is not convinced of the sincerity of the Russian explanation.

"As for the Russians, what do I have to talk to them about? They had one opposition leader, and they killed him. We have to talk to them now, but how? The Kremlin killed [Navalny]. Where is the public response? He is one of them.

I recently talked to a US journalist about this. He also asked me about it, but why was he asking me? Ask those people, he was their compatriot!

They don’t care…

Judging by the Kremlin’s messages, they all talk about 2030. The year until which [Russian President Vladimir Putin] will remain in power."- Zelenskyy said.

Zelenskyy and his wife have expressed optimism and hope that Ukraine will manage to survive these difficult days and relive beautiful moments just as before the war. They hope that the world will continue to monitor events in Ukraine and be ready to assist them at any moment. Without the help of Europe and the world, defending against such an opponent will be a much harder task.

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