First Lady Dr. Jill Biden made a surprise visit to Ukraine on Sunday, meeting Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska and visiting with children from Ukraine who have been displaced by the ongoing war with Russia.
Biden, who began his trip to Eastern Europe on Thursday, crossed the border from Slovakia into southwestern Ukraine on Sunday afternoon to make an unannounced visit to a public school in Uzhhorod, which has been turned into a temporary shelter, with 47 children. Including there were 163 Ukrainians. This was a rare visit by the American First Lady to a war zone.
The first lady was welcomed by Zelenska, who has not been seen in public since Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine on February 24, according to a US official. The official said the two women have exchanged correspondence over the past few weeks.
“I wanted to come on Mother’s Day,” Biden told reporters traveling with him. “We thought it was important to show the Ukrainian people that this war has to be stopped, and that this war has been brutal, and that the people of the United States stand with the people of Ukraine.”
Zelenska called Biden’s visit a “very courageous act.”
“Because we understand what it took America’s First Lady to be here during a war, when military action is happening every day, where there’s air sirens every day,” she said. “We all feel your support and we all feel the leadership of the US President, but we would like to note that Mother’s Day is a very symbolic day for us as we show your love and support during such an important day. feel too.”
Biden and Zelenska held a private bilateral meeting for about 30 minutes, after which they met with Ukrainians who had been displaced from their homes and children who were making bears out of cardboard and tissue paper for their mothers.
According to Biden’s press secretary Michael Larosa, the first lady returned to Slovakia after spending nearly two hours in Ukraine and spoke to President Joe Biden after the trip.
Larosa said Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markova, gave Biden a letter from Zelenska in the State of the Union in March, and that Ukraine’s first lady sent another letter last month calling for the war on children’s mental health. Concerns were expressed about the toll of Rs. , soldiers and families.
Biden joins a growing number of top US officials who have made secret trips to Ukraine in recent weeks. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited the capital city of Kyiv in April, and a delegation of House Democrats led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a secret visit to the capital last week to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Mr Biden has not traveled to Ukraine, although he did visit Eastern Europe in March.
Biden’s unannounced stop in Ukraine is the first in a war zone by the wife of a current president since Laura Bush’s visit to Afghanistan in 2008. The former First Lady also visited Afghanistan in 2005. Michelle Obama in 2015 visited Al Udeed Air Base in Qatar, which has been designated a war zone since 1991, to meet soldiers.
This story is basically . was published by CBS News May 8, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. ET.
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