First Lady Jill Biden made a surprise visit to Ukraine on Mother’s Day in a further display of American support for the war-torn nation engaged in a fight for survival against Russian forces.
Given the optics of the Biden presidency, her 79-year-old husband, President Joe Biden, was not in tow.
“I wanted to come on Mother’s Day. 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,” Biden said.
The moment First Ladies Jill Biden 🇺🇸 and Olena Zelenska 🇺🇦met today in Uzhhorod, Ukraine pic.twitter.com/9UsdBBA6Eh
— Michael LaRosa (@MichaelLaRosa46) May 8, 2022
Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenskyy greeted Mrs. Biden, this reportedly being her first public outing since the war began. Mrs. Zelenskyy and her children have been in hiding since the beginning of the war — she has two children with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, a 9-year-old son, and a 17-year-old daughter.
On this Mother’s Day, my heart is with you, First Lady Olena Zelenska, and all of the brave and resilient mothers of Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/tCMXCXhgiY
— Jill Biden (@FLOTUS) May 8, 2022
“Biden crossed the Slovakia-Ukraine border after a visit to the Slovakia side of a border crossing in Vysne Nemecke. She spent about two hours in Ukraine, visiting the city of Uzhhorod, in Zakarpattia Oblast in the southwest corner of the country,” NPR reported.
“First of all, I would like to thank you for a very courageous act,” Mrs. Zelensky said.
— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) May 8, 2022
“Because we understand what it takes for the U.S. first lady to come here during a war when the military actions are taking place every day, where the air sirens are happening every day even today,” she added. “We all feel your support and we all feel the leadership of the U.S. president but we would like to note that the Mother’s Day is a very symbolic day for us because we also feel your love and support during such an important day.”
The women held a closed-door bilateral meeting for about an hour in a school building that has been transformed into a refuge.
— Kate Bennett (@KateBennett_DC) May 8, 2022
Biden’s visit follows last week’s surprise visit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and a group of Democratic lawmakers, as well as a visit late last month by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
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