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For the First Time Since the Start of the Russian War, Ukraine was Visited by a Member of the Royal Family — Duchess of Edinburgh Sophie

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Photo: For the First Time Since the Start of the Russian War, Ukraine was Visited by a Member of the Royal Family — Duchess of Edinburgh Sophie. Source: president.gov.ua
Photo: For the First Time Since the Start of the Russian War, Ukraine was Visited by a Member of the Royal Family — Duchess of Edinburgh Sophie. Source: president.gov.ua

On Monday, April 29, Duchess of Edinburgh Sophie arrived in Kyiv on an unannounced visit — the first member of the royal family to visit Ukraine after the full-scale Russian invasion. She made this visit on behalf of the British Foreign Ministry to demonstrate solidarity with women, men, and children affected by the war, BBC reports.

During her visit, the Duchess paid tribute to the memory of those who died in Bucha at the hands of Russian occupiers. She also spoke with victims of sexual violence and torture, listened to the stories of children returned from forced deportation, and visited a bridge blown up to halt the advance of Russian troops towards Kyiv.

Duchess of Edinburgh also met with President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy and First Lady Olena Zelenska. During this meeting, she conveyed a private message from King Charles and discussed supporting victims of sexual violence during conflicts.

President Zelensky, in turn, thanked the people of Great Britain for supporting Ukraine.

"We greatly appreciate the support of the people of Great Britain, especially grateful for sheltering our refugees from the first days of the full-scale Russian invasion. We are also very grateful for all the military aid packages from your government and prime ministers. This is extremely important for our military," emphasized Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Olena Zelenska thanked the guests for their help in combating sexual violence during the war, particularly for participating in the international conference "Restoring the Rights of Victims of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence: Elements of Peace and World Security." The First Lady also noted the assistance of Great Britain in organizing a national judicial investigation into Russian war crimes and participation in the Coalition for the Return of Ukrainian Children held in captivity by the aggressor state, Russia.

Together with Olena Zelenska, Duchess of Edinburgh visited St. Sophia's Cathedral — a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Ukraine's main spiritual centres.

It is worth noting that the royal family of Great Britain has been actively supporting Ukraine since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion. In 2022, Charles, then Prince of Wales, visited Ukrainian refugees who crossed the border into Romania.

However, the royal family is also the target of frequent attacks by Russian propaganda and disinformation. Russian propagandists have spread fakes about the death of King Charles III and conspiracy theories regarding the health of Princess of Wales Catherine.

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