Olena Zelenska proves we do not need to feel impotent in the face of evil


As Ukraine’s First Lady demands a Nuremberg trial for Putin, could we see the defeat of the Russian Army and the CCP in the same year?

Tim Stanley

29 November 2022 • 7:43pm

Olena Zelenksa

Olena Zelenska is immaculate: blond hair tied back, grey coat with black collar and black heels. She almost never smiles. She is an ordinary woman married to a comedian who, by a twist of fate, was elected president of Ukraine. And then the Russians invaded. Her job now is to tell the world about the war crimes.

Parliamentarians greeted her in Committee Room 14, among them Penny Mordaunt and Keir Starmer – plus Boris Johnson, a defeated Winston paying his respects to Mme De Gaulle. We Brits are not the only ones with long memories of the Second World War. Mrs Zelenska began in English, quoting a teenage boy who endured the Blitz. What London went through 80 years ago, she said, my people are going through now.

The rest was in Ukrainian, translated for us through erratic ear-pieces – last used, I think, when Joe Biden came to visit – and detailed what the Russians have done, their bombs, their tortures, their mindless destruction. They left a mine hidden inside a piano, she said: no respect for life, no sanctity of culture. It is not enough for Ukraine to win, “we must have justice”, just as the Allies had their Nuremberg trials. It’s a mark of how badly Putin’s invasion has gone that Kyiv is already talking about what happens after he’s lost, though one suspects he’s more likely to wind up in the Lubyanka than the Hague.

Is it possible that we’ll see the defeat of the Russian Army and the collapse of the Chinese Communist Party in the same year? Authoritarians can only squeeze their people so far, and liberal democracy, for all its greedy bankers and silly pronouns, still has the moral upper hand. Yet one feels impotent in the face of such evil.

In the Commons, MPs asked the Government what it plans to do about the BBC journalist who was arrested in the middle of a Shanghai protest – to protect him from Covid, explained the Chinese police, who apparently tried to beat the virus out of him.

“The case against the journalist was thin, to say the least,” said foreign minister David Rutley, earning him exasperated looks. Backbenchers want to know what Rishi Sunak’s new policy towards Beijing – “robust pragmatism” – actually means. It has an echo of surrender in it, hand-in-glove with the Government’s domestic strategies, upbeat pessimism and abundant poverty.

Mrs Zelenska ended her visit with a tour of a new exhibit in Portcullis House titled, ominously, “An Incomplete Map of Russian War Crimes.” She had told MPs and peers that the youngest victim of rape in Ukraine was four, the oldest 85. I can hardly believe it. I don’t want to believe it. Not of Russia, land of Tolstoy and Pushkin – but I suppose many once said the same about the Germans and, as the First Lady pointed out, we have more than enough evidence to convict.

There is a photo in Portcullis House of an old woman killed in the street by shelling. She lies among fallen apples.


  1. Filthy kremtroll vermin were ordered to hit the comments. Here is one piece of toilet residue calling itself Dora Beatriz Ridgway:

    “Shame that the PM playing host is the product of a coup and has no legitimacy, let alone the moral authority to talk about ideas of freedom, democracy and justice.”

    A reply from Jeremy Buxton:

    “What a wicked, deluded statement. You are repeating Putin’s filthy lies. Only a Russian stooge believes there was a coup in 2014 when the traitors were exposed and removed.”

    Trolls should be hunted down and killed.

  2. Comment from Caz Holly:

    “I thank her for mentioning the Blitz. It made me realize that Ukraine has it far far worse than England ever did.
    O.K, we had the bombings for a long time & no one knows when Russia will cave in but hopefully not years.
    The difference between us is in that we were never invaded by the Germans. They did not rape our children, women or older women.
    We had the RAF & Ukraine sorely needs air power plus missiles to stop them crippling vital services.
    We were able to bomb Germany & give them a taste of their own medicine whereby Ukraine cannot.
    Russia has shown themselves to be totally evil, determined to leave nothing standing in Ukraine & demoralise Ukrainians through terror & rape.
    Nothing must be spared to stop them from winning the smallest bit of land. European countries must now be more united than at any time since Russia invaded.
    This is no time to worry about ourselves.”

  3. Percy Blakeney comments:

    “Ukraine is extremely lucky to have found a husband and wife team so totally committed to their country and its people. Keep the arms and aid flowing to Ukraine; then NATO can also gain a bit of kudos when Putin is finally defeated next year.”

  4. Richard Lloyd-Jones:

    “To a layman the attempt to freeze to death vast numbers of Ukrainians by knocking out their energy supply would seem to rank as intended genocide. We really need to know if this is the case as international law stands.”

  5. Graham Boyd comments on the deluge of filthy trolls :

    “At what point should the UK based apologists expect a knock on the door?
    I’m sure the security services know who is posting what from within the UK. It doesn’t take much. Of course, most are just dis-satisfied Trump supporters who are hacked off that he won’t get re-elected, but there may be one or two genuine nutters in our midst. And given their support for Russia, do they need to be investigated?”

  6. Dave Evans :

    “I do hope the evils of putin and his disgusting filth of an army and the smug evil of xi xi are utterly crushed and humiliated. But I’m not holding my breath.”

  7. Pete Mason:

    “You always hope that the last series of war crimes will be….the last. Sadly they never are. Putin, and those who carry out his orders, deserve to get what’s coming to them. When that happens the trolls on here will scurry back to their holes and sewers where they belong.”

  8. One of the best of the DT commenters, Carpe Jugulum, says :

    “Can we now PLEASE abandon the pretence that Putin is a statesman, a national leader or even a politician?
    All of those descriptives are negated by the basic fact that he is a thief and a murdering thug.
    His invasion was never about Nazis or NATO, it was and is nothing more than a resources grab, a grand scale armed robbery.
    He has now lost and his last desperate throw is to try and terrorise Ukraine into negotiations.
    If Putin takes ANYTHING from Ukraine he will sell it as victory and secure his domestic situation.
    He needs to be defeated. Utterly.
    On a more basic note, if someone had guaranteed the destruction of the Russian armed forces for £500 billion NATO would have signed the cheque within the hour. Ukraine are now engaged in that task. We need to support them.”

What is your opinion?