Inside Zelensky’s war rooms: Ukrainian president reveals underground bunker in Kyiv where he is holed up away from family as he shows off his wartime wardrobe, single bed below flat screen TV and bust of Winston Churchill on his desk
- Zelenksy has effectively lived in his war rooms in capital Kyiv for the past year
- He has his wartime wardrobe, a bed, desk and office space for all occasions
Ukrainian President Zelensky has given an insight into his top-secret war rooms inside a bunker in Kyiv where he has lived for the past year to mark the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion.
In an interview with Ukrainian journalist Dmytro Komarov, Zelensky showed Ukrainians around the small space where he makes vital decisions, holds crunch meetings and telephones heads of state from all around the world.
Recalling the first hours of the war, Zelensky described rushing to his war rooms after being informed of Putin’s invasion in the early hours of February 24, 2022.
He left immediately, without even waking his wife: ‘I love my family, but for me as president, being here was a priority.’
It comes as the world marked one year of war in Ukraine on Friday.
In an interview with Ukrainian journalist Dmytro Komarov, Zelensky showed Ukrainians around the small space where he makes vital decisions, holds crunch meetings and telephones heads of state
President Zelensky addresses the Ukrainian nation from his war rooms to mark one year since Putin’s invasion
In a documentary project by Mr Komarov titled ‘Year’, footage from the president’s base included a tour of Zelensky’s bedroom, hidden wardrobe and office space.
On his desk lie models of planes and a photograph of him and his wife Olena, along with their two children, as well as a bust of wartime leader Winston Churchill.
His office is also bedecked in models of tanks and a Ukrainian flag.
Showing Mr Komarov a large room complete with tables and chairs, President Zelensky shared his initial memories and thoughts with the Ukrainian people.
He said: ‘It’s very difficult to remember all the details. I got a call that it all had started.
‘We woke up with my wife, my family, my son, my daughter [asleep]. I definitely thought about waking the kids up, packing up everyone.
‘To tell the kids what is happening, that the war had started. They are adults, they must understand what’s happening.
‘I left very fast. I love my family, but for me as president, being here was a priority.’
He added his family then joined him hours later after security forces decided it was too dangerous for them to remain separate from Zelensky.
Zelensky then showed the journalist his official office, where he has made the vast majority of his videos sharing updates on the war and asking for help from western nations.
He spoke to 27 national leaders on the morning of February 24, Zelesnky told Mr Komarov, sitting in his desk chair next to the phone he has so often been pictured using.
On Zelensky’s desk lie models of planes and a photograph of him and his wife Olena, along with their two children
Zelensky’s wardrobe, tucked away inside his war rooms where he leads the fight against Russia
Models of military equipment such as this battleship could be seen carefully protected by a glass case in Zelensky’s office
Zelensky initially travelled to his war rooms alone, but was soon joined by his wife and family
One of the items on Zelensky’s desk appears to be a bust of Winston Churchill
Zelensky has not been seen in a suit since the beginning of the invasion, but does have the one he last wore as war broke out tucked safely away in the wardrobe
Zelensky said he did not have time to consider the impact of the war upon his marriage or separation from family: ‘We didn’t have tome for such romance, because we’ve been kind of busy.’
He continued: ‘The only thing I remember I was thinking about [after the invasion] was this office, the phones, the team I have to gather now.’
As well as ample office space, Zelensky’s war rooms are complete with a wardrobe filled almost exclusively with khaki and war-time clothing.
Zelensky has not been seen in a suit since the beginning of the invasion, but does have the one he last wore as war broke out tucked safely away in the wardrobe.
It is otherwise filled by clothes in various shades of green and black, with military-style boots at the bottom.
Describing the moment he changed into his war-time outfit, Zelensky said: ‘Internally, at that moment, all of us had already changed.
‘Everything had changed. Life had changed. And it was impossible to return to what was before.’
He added he has kept his last-worn suit as a ‘symbol’: ‘We will win soon, so we will wear suits again.’
The footage shows Zelensky’s small bedroom, complete with a single bed and sink.
Zelensky showed Ukrainian journalist Dmytro Komarov around the complex, where he has his own small bedroom
His personal quarters have a sink and wash area, although the president quipped the tight space makes his ‘back hurt’
Inside his wartime wardrobe Zelensky also had multiple pairs of shoes
Zelensky has lived in the underground bunker for a year as he directs Ukraine’s defence
He said: ‘I live here. This is my home. I have lived here for a year.’
Zelensky continues to reside at the heart of his country despite being warned by security forces to leave for his own safety.
‘I was told to pack up, because I was a target, that they have to do everything they can to get me to a safe place.
‘I didn’t think about what might happen, about myself. This is not about bravery.
‘I thought about the consequences of my leaving and what would happen. The responsibility is on me.
If I leave, no-one will ask afterwards about who suggested it. There will be only the result: you have abandoned your state.
‘I think [that is] betrayal.’
Ukrainian journalist Dmytro Komarov was one of the first journalists to document the horrors of liberated towns Bucha, Irpin, and Hostomel.
He has more than three million subscribers to his YouTube channel as he seeks to continue reporting from throughout the country.
Ukraine continues to launch a staunch defence of its territory with the assistance of military equipment from western nations.
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