Washington — First girl Dr. Jill Biden made a shock journey toon Sunday, assembly with the primary girl of Ukraine Olena Zelenska and visiting with Ukrainian kids who’ve been displaced by the continued struggle with Russia.
Biden, who launched into her journey to Jap Europe on Thursday, crossed the border from Slovakia into southwestern Ukraine on Sunday afternoon for the unannounced go to to a public faculty in Uzhhorod that was transformed into a brief shelter, housing 163 Ukrainians, together with 47 kids. It was a uncommon go to by a U.S. first girl right into a struggle zone.
The primary girl was greeted by Zelenska, who has not been seen in public since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on February 24, in response to a U.S. official. The official stated the 2 ladies have exchanged correspondence over the previous few weeks.
“I wished to come back on Mom’s Day,” Biden informed reporters touring along with her. “We thought it was vital to indicate the Ukrainian folks that this struggle has to cease, and this struggle has been brutal, and that the folks of the US stand with the folks of Ukraine.”
Zelenska referred to as the go to by Biden a “very brave act.”
“As a result of we perceive what it takes for the U.S. first girl to come back right here throughout a struggle when the navy actions are going down daily, the place the air sirens are taking place daily, even at present,” she stated. “All of us really feel your help and all of us really feel the management of the U.S. president, however we want to word that the Mom’s Day is a really symbolic day for us as a result of we additionally really feel your love and help throughout such an vital day.”
Biden and Zelenska held a non-public bilateral assembly for roughly half-hour, after which they met with Ukrainians who’ve been displaced from their houses and youngsters who had been making bears out of cardboard and tissue paper for his or her moms.
The primary girl returned to Slovakia after spending roughly two hours in Ukraine, and spoke with President Biden after the go to, in response to Michael LaRosa, Biden’s press secretary.
LaRosa stated Ukraine’s ambassador to the US, Oksana Markarova, gave Biden a letter from Zelenska on the State of the Union in March, and Ukraine’s first girl despatched one other letter final month expressing considerations concerning the toll of the struggle on the psychological well being of youngsters, troops and households.
Biden joins a rising variety of prime U.S. officers who’ve made secret visits to Ukraine in latest weeks. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Protection Secretary Lloyd Austinof Kyiv in April, and a delegation of Home Democrats led by Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the capital final week and met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Mr. Biden has not traveled to Ukraine, although he visited Jap Europe in March.
Biden’s unannounced cease in Ukraine is the primary by the partner of a sitting president to a struggle zone since Laura Bush visited Afghanistan in 2008. The previous first girl additionally visited Afghanistan in 2005. Michelle Obama in 2015 traveled to Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, which has been designated a fight zone since 1991, to satisfy with troops.