Printed on Mon May 16 2022 8:14:40 AM

Jill Biden visits Olena Zelenska in Ukraine

International desk

The visit came as United States First Lady Jill Biden held a surprise Mother’s Day meeting with her Ukrainian counterpart, First Lady Olena Zelenska, to show US support for the embattled nation.

“I wanted to come on Mother’s Day,” the US first lady told Zelenska as they met at a school in the eastern Slovakian city of Kosice that was being used to temporarily house Ukrainian migrants.

“I thought it was important to show the Ukrainian people that this war has to stop and this war has been brutal and that the people of the United States stand with the people of Ukraine.”

Joe Biden spent about two hours in Ukraine, traveling by vehicle to the town of Uzhhorod, about a 10-minute drive from the Slovakian border.

Zelenska thanked Biden for her “courageous” act. “We understand what it takes for the US first lady to come here during a war when military actions are taking place every day, where the air sirens are happening every day – even today,” she said.

Biden became the latest high-profile American to enter Ukraine during the war, while Zelenska’s public appearance was her first since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

US President Joe Biden visited Poland in March but said he was disappointed he could not cross the border and go into Ukraine to see conditions “firsthand” due to security reasons.

The White House said last week that the president “would love to visit”, but there were no plans for him to do so at this time.


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