UZHHOROD, Ukraine — First lady Jill Biden traveled into war-torn Ukraine Sunday, the place she met together with her Ukrainian counterpart in a Mother’s Day present of solidarity for girls fleeing Russia’s invasion.
After crossing the Slovakian border, Biden traveled to the western metropolis of Uzhhorod the place she met Olena Zelenska, Ukraine’s first lady, at a faculty.
“I assumed it was vital to indicate the Ukrainian those that this struggle has to cease, and this struggle has been brutal, and that the folks of the United States stand with the folks of Ukraine,” Biden mentioned.
Zelenska, who has not been seen in public for the reason that invasion started, thanked Biden for what she referred to as “a brave act.”
“We perceive what it takes for the U.S. first lady to return right here throughout a struggle, the place the army actions are going down on daily basis, the place the air raid sirens are taking place on daily basis — even as we speak,” she mentioned, talking by means of a translator.
“We all really feel your help,” she added. “We all really feel the management of the uspresident. But we want to observe that Mother’s Day is a really symbolic day for us. Because we additionally really feel your love and help throughout such an vital day.”
After their non-public assembly, the 2 first women visited a classroom on the faculty, which had been remodeled into short-term housing for Ukrainians who’ve fled west since Russia invaded on Feb. 24.
The first women labored on an arts and crafts challenge with among the 47 kids housed on the facility in what was referred to as each a leisure and psychological exercise to handle the trauma they confronted.
Biden’s unannounced journey into the nation, which got here amid a four-day go to to Slovakia and Romania, is uncommon for a presidential partner, and makes her the most recent outstanding official from her husband’s administration to go to Ukraine. The White House beforehand indicated that Biden would journey to the Slovakia-Ukraine border.
A senior administration official mentioned the first lady referred to as President Joe Biden to debate her journey into Ukraine after she concluded her assembly with Zelenska.
Earlier Sunday, Biden visited a refugee heart in Kosice, a metropolis in japanese Slovakia, and met with Ukrainian moms who’ve briefly resettled there.
The U.S. first lady’s journey comes two weeks after Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin traveled to Kyiv and made recent guarantees of army and diplomatic help in a gathering with Zelenskyy.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., additionally led a congressional delegation to the nation final week.
Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau additionally made a shock go to to Ukraine on Sunday, the Associated Press reported. Zelenskyy’s workplace informed the information service that he was there to satisfy with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy “and reaffirm Canada’s unwavering help for the Ukrainian folks.”
In a late evening video Saturday, Zelenskyy warned that Russia will probably ramp up its assaults over the weekend, main into Monday — the nation’s Victory Day.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki mentioned Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin has “projected his need” to make use of the celebrations to declare the defeat of Ukraine.
Christina Zhao contributed.