St. Valentine's Day is celebrated today, Feb. 14, across the world, including Ukraine. But in Ukraine, all relationships have been tested by war.

Kyiv Post takes a look at the love stories of five prominent Ukrainians leaders to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

1.Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine.

The love story between Ukraine's President and First Lady, Volodymyr and Olena Zelenska, began in their school days in Kryvyi Rih.

Photo: instagram.com/olenazelenska_official/

In seventh grade, Olena caught Volodymyr's interest straightaway. But despite his efforts to win her over, she doesn't recall their first meeting.

Their romance flourished only after high school, at age 17. Their first encounter post-graduation was serendipitous: Volodymyr bumped into Olena on the street, sparking a connection over a shared movie interest.

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Photo: instagram.com/olenazelenska_official/

Volodymyr proposed during a cinema outing following their eight-year relationship. 

Married in 2003, they welcomed their daughter Alexandra, followed shortly after by a son, Kyrylo, nine years later. After nearly three decades, they remain a devoted couple.

Photo: Vogue.

Kyrylo Budanov, Head of the Ukrainian Military Intelligence (HUR)

The icy and enigmatic soul of Ukraine’s chief military intelligence officer was conquered by his wife, Marianna Budanova. Now, they have been married for over 10 years.

This is Kyrylo’s second marriage. He divorced his first wife after only a couple of years.

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Since the onset of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Marianna has been with her husband almost constantly, residing with him in his office.

“My happiness is always with me,” Kyrylo Budanov remarked in an interview with Radio Liberty on his wife living where he spends countless hours working.

“We are experiencing a romantic period once again, as we are together 24/7.”

When asked if the country's chief intelligence officer is romantic, Kyrylo remained silent but recalled a story Marianna once shared: How, in the initial weeks of the full-scale invasion, he delighted her with a handmade postcard and a bouquet of tulips.

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"At that time, there was little opportunity for flowers, and it seems that they weren't readily available.

“Well, perhaps I'm mistaken, but I couldn't find any at the time... I crafted a flower out of stickers, reminiscent of what I did in first grade. That was all I could manage then,” Budanov explained.

Marianna previously mentioned that she and her husband exchange notes with daily wishes for each other.

Valery Zaluzhny, former Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

Valery Zaluzhny, the former Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (AFU), has been married to Olena Zaluzhna for over 20 years. The military officer rarely shares details of his personal life, but he has never hidden the fact that he is very happy to have united his life with Olena.

“Even when I didn’t believe in myself, you believed in me and supported me. All I have and all I have achieved is you. Thank you for the air, for the heartbeat, and for the dreams that really come true,” Valery wrote on social media on his wife's birthday.

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The couple used to travel a lot. The soldier admitted that his favorite thing to do is to put on a tracksuit and walk to explore a new city.

  • Mykhailo Fedorov, Head of the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine

Mykhailo Fedorov and his wife Anastasia have been happily married for over 10 years. They have a seven-year-old daughter, Maria. 

The couple is active on social media, frequently sharing photos of their lives. Mykhailo Fedorov himself refers to his family as 'exemplary,' emphasizing their strong values. 

"If I could turn back time and change anything, I wouldn't do a thing to avoid disrupting the delicate balance of fate that brought us together. You're wonderful and deserve eternal happiness! I love you," Mykhailo wrote in a heartfelt Instagram post, accompanied by a touching photo on his wife’s birthday.

 

  • Petro Poroshenko, 5th President of Ukraine

Petro Poroshenko, the former President of Ukraine (2014-2019), met his wife, Maryna Poroshenko, in his student days at the party. 

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According to Maryna Poroshenko, it was love at first sight. However, they only began dating six months later when mutual friends invited them for a barbecue in the countryside. After that, they started seeing each other almost daily.

"We had dates almost every day. We had to really try not to meet. Once, after an argument, I cried into my pillow for more than a day, saying, That's it, this is the last time, I'm leaving!' But the next day, we reconciled. Everything was so romantic and unpredictable with us," Maryna Poroshenko told Viva magazine in an exclusive interview. 

A year later, they applied to the registry office to get married. However, their plans had to be put on hold for two long years because a week after their wedding, Petro was called to serve in the Soviet army.

"When I saw my husband off at the train station, it felt like life was over. I cried so much! I thought I wouldn't survive the separation. I have never experienced such a tragedy in my life again," recalled Maryna.

"We wrote to each other almost every day. I still cherish all those letters," she added.

The Poroshenkos now have a big family with four children.

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Comments ( 1)

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John
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Happy Valentines Day Ukrainians🇺🇦. You fight the good fight. With courage and inner strength, you do all that you can do, to protect those you love. The best Valentines gift ever❤️!

All Allies must help more. Your global supporters work towards this goal each day.

Slava Ukraini🌻🇨🇦

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