First lady Jill Biden made an unannounced visit to Ukraine on Sunday and met with Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska, the latest high-profile American to visit the war-torn country.
Biden spent about two hours in the western Ukrainian city of Uzhhorod to meet with Zelenska, according to The Associated Press.
“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 two women sat at a small table in a classroom of a former school in Uzhhorod that is now used for temporary housing for displaced Ukrainians, including 48 children, according to CNN.
“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,” Zelenska said.
According to the AP, the meeting came after the two first ladies exchanged correspondence in recent weeks, according to U.S. officials who declined to provide further detail.
As she arrived at the school, Biden, who was wearing a Mother’s Day corsage that was a gift from President Joe Biden, embraced Zelenskyy and presented her with a bouquet.
Jill Biden’s visit is the latest visit by a high-profile U.S. official. It follows recent stops in Ukraine by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of Congress, as well as a joint trip by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who met President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv.
Sunday’s visit by Jill Biden came after she spent the morning meeting with Ukrainian refugees in Slovakia, according to The New York Times.
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