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Ukraine's first lady urges global response to 'systematic' use of rape as weapon by Russian troops

Zelenska adresses international conference to tackle sexual violence in conflicts, visits Downing Street and meets Camilla, Queen Consort in London

12:12 . 30/11/2022 Wednesday
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Ukraine's first lady Olena Zelenska

Ukraine's first lady Olena Zelenska

Ukraine's first lady Olena Zelenska said Russian troops are using rape as a weapon of war in her country and urged a global response.

Zelenska, the wife of Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said sexual violence is perpetrated "systematically and openly" by the invaders.

Zelenska's comments came at an international conference to tackle sexual violence during conflicts Tuesday.

"Sexual violence is the most cruel, most animalistic way to prove mastership over someone," she said.

"And for victims of this kind of violence, it is difficult to testify in war times because nobody feels safe," she added.

"This is another instrument that they (Russian soldiers) are using as their weaponry. This is another weapon in their arsenal in this war and conflict. That's why they're using this systematically and openly."

The Ukrainian first lady earlier visited Downing Street and met British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his wife, Akshata Murty.

Olena Zelenska also met Camilla, the Queen Consort, at a reception at Buckingham Palace.

Zelenska, later on, received a standing ovation in a parliamentary committee room, where she called for justice for Ukraine.

Speaking to MPs and peers, she said that the "Ukrainians are going through the terror, which will resonate with you."

"Your islands survived the air raids, which were identical to those that Russia uses now to put us on our knees," she added, referring to the Blitz – a Nazi bombing campaign against the UK cities in World War II.

She said: "We're hearing sirens every day identical to those which were heard by earlier British generations. You did not surrender and we will not surrender.

"But victory is not the only thing we need. We need justice."

#Ukraine
#Russia
#Olena Zelenska
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