As Russia intensifies its brutal campaign in the eastern areas, US first lady Jill Biden made an unexpected visit to western Ukraine on Sunday, having a surprise Mother’s Day meeting with the country’s first lady, Olena Zelenska.
Biden visited Ukraine under the cloak of secrecy, becoming the latest high-profile American to do so during the country’s 10-week confrontation with Russia.
“I wanted to come on Mother’s Day,” Biden told Zelenska. “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.”
The first lady traveled by car to Uzhhorod, which is roughly a 10-minute drive from a Slovakian settlement on the Ukrainian border. She was in Ukraine for around two hours.
Before meeting in private, the two met in a tiny classroom, sitting across a table from one another and discussing in front of media. Zelenska and her children have been kept safe in an undisclosed location.
Zelenska thanked Biden for her “courageous act” and said, “We understand what it takes for the U.S. 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.”
The school where they met has been converted into temporary accommodation for Ukrainian migrants from throughout the country.
The visit allowed Biden to perform the kind of personal diplomacy that her husband would prefer to do himself.
Image Credit: Ukraine Media
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