Ukrainian President Zelenskyy is ‘every bit a hero and a leader’: Prince Charles’ cousin Christina Oxenberg

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Like the rest of the world, Christina Oxenberg was stunned to watch the Russian-Ukraine conflict unfold.

“My initial reaction was one of shock,” the author told Fox News Digital. “I am deeply moved by the courage of the people of Ukraine.”

Oxenberg is the daughter of Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia, a descendent of the Russian Royal House of Romanov. She is also a second cousin to members of the British royal family and sister of “Dynasty” actress Catherine Oxenberg. She has previously detailed her upbringing in a serialized memoir on Patreon.

Several members of the British royal family have condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. On Tuesday, Prince Charles expressed his solidarity with Ukraine during a speech commemorating British lawmaker David Arness, who was murdered in October 2021.

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Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy holds a press conference on Russia's military operation in Ukraine, on February 25, 2022, in Kyiv.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy holds a press conference on Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, on February 25, 2022, in Kyiv.
(Presidency of Ukraine/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

“What we saw in the terrible tragedy in Southend was an attack on democracy, on an open society, on freedom itself,” said the heir to the British throne. “We are seeing those same values under attack today in Ukraine in the most unconscionable way. In the stand we take here, we are in solidary with all those who are resisting brutal aggression.”

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Charles’ youngest son, Prince Harry, and his wife, Meghan Markle, issued a statement on Feb. 24.

“Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex and all of us at Archewell stand with the people of Ukraine against this breach of international and humanitarian law and encourage the global community and its leaders to do the same,” a statement posted to their Archewell Foundation website read.

Soon after, Prince William and his wife, Kate Middleton, shared a similar sentiment with their own statement released on Feb. 26 via social media.

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Christina Oxenberg has detailed her upbringing in a serialized memoir on Patreon.

Christina Oxenberg has detailed her upbringing in a serialized memoir on Patreon.
(Stephen Lovekin/FilmMagic)

“In October 2020 we had the privilege to meet President Zelenskyy and the First Lady to learn of their hope and optimism for Ukraine’s future,” the statement from the couple began.

“Today we stand with the President and all of Ukraine’s people as they bravely fight for that future,” their statement continued, adding an emoji of Ukraine’s flag.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy took to Twitter and thanked the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for their solidarity.

“[My wife] Olena and I are grateful to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge @RoyalFamily that at this crucial time, when Ukraine is courageously opposing Russia’s invasion, they stand by our country and support our brave citizens. Good will triumph,” the 44-year-old tweeted.

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Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge meet Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky and his wife, Olena, during an audience at Buckingham Palace on Oct. 7, 2020, in London, England.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge meet Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky and his wife, Olena, during an audience at Buckingham Palace on Oct. 7, 2020, in London, England.
(Jonathan Brady/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Oxenberg noted that while it’s unusual for the royals to speak out on politics, she isn’t surprised by their declarations.

“Typically, the royal family will not comment on politics of their own country or other countries,” she explained. “This case may be different due to the scale and gravity of Putin’s aggression.”

Queen Elizabeth II, as head of state, has to remain strictly neutral “with respect to political matters,” shared the royal family’s website. The monarch does not vote or stand for election. However, she does have important ceremonial and formal roles in relation to the British government.

Royal family members rarely get involved in political matters and instead choose to remain neutral.

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In 2014, a royal spokesperson refused to confirm or deny that Charles compared Russian President Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler during a private reception with World War II veterans in Canada.

Oxenberg said that the ongoing conflict has unveiled numerous moments of heroism, which should be commended.

“The Ukrainians are handling themselves with extraordinary courage,” she said. “[And] Zelenskyy has risen to the challenge of the job and is every bit a hero and a leader.”

Oxenberg had two messages for both sides.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an intense assault on Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an intense assault on Ukraine.
(Yuri Kochetkov/Pool)

“For Ukrainians, never give up,” she said. “For Putin – give up.”

Russia acknowledged for the first time since the start of the invasion on Feb. 24 that nearly 500 Russian troops have been killed in the fighting and around 1,600 have been wounded. Ukraine has not released a similar casualty figure for its armed forces.

The U.N. human rights office said at least 227 civilians have been killed and 525 wounded in Ukraine since the start of the invasion. Ukraine’s State Emergency Service has said more than 2,000 civilians have died.

Meanwhile, the U.N. refugee agency said 1 million people have fled Ukraine. Also, the U.N. General Assembly has condemned the invasion and called on Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine.

The conflict is still evolving, and it has sparked widespread condemnation around the world, as well as increasingly severe economic sanctions against Russia. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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