(Bratislava) US First Lady Jill Biden visited Ukraine on Sunday for a brief surprise visit, her spokesman said, and met with her Ukrainian counterpart Olena Zelenska in Uzhhorod, at a school near the Slovakian border.
Posted at 10:00 am
“I wanted to come for Mother’s Day. I felt it was important to show the Ukrainian people that this war must stop,” she told reporters, saying, “The American people stand behind the Ukrainian people.”
Jill Biden was in Slovakia this week, meeting with Ukrainian refugee families among other things, and her foray into Ukraine was kept secret until the last moment.
Jill Biden and Olena Zelenska hugged and the First Lady of the United States presented a bouquet of flowers to the wife of the President of Ukraine.
This is the first time that M.me Zelenska has been public since the conflict began on February 24, a US official said. According to the same source, the two ladies have been exchanging letters for the past few weeks.
“I wanted to come for Mother’s Day,” said Fraume Biden told reporters who attended the meeting early in a small classroom at a school that has been converted into a reception center for refugees in the border town of Uzhhorod.
“I felt it was important to show the people of Ukraine that this war must stop, that this war is brutal, and that the people of the United States stand behind the people of Ukraine,” she continued.
Mme Zelenska replied in Ukrainian, with her remarks translated by an interpreter.
“First of all, I want to thank you for a very brave act,” she said.
“Because we understand what it takes for the First Lady of the United States to come here during a war where military operations are happening every day, where air raid sirens are sounding every day,” Olena Zelenska added today.
“We all feel your support and we all feel the guidance of the US President, but we want to emphasize that Mother’s Day is a very symbolic day for us because we also feel your love and support on such an important day. ‘ she added.
A closed meeting lasted about an hour before they were met by refugee children who were making paper cuts, accompanied by their mothers.
Mme Biden then returned to the Slovakian border.
According to the Interior Ministry, more than 400,000 Ukrainians have entered Slovakia since the beginning of the war. Most have left for other countries, around 74,000 remain in Slovakia.
As in Romania the day before, the First Lady of the United States assured the refugees she met of her country’s support, noting that most of them wanted to return home as soon as possible.
Monday, the last day of his tour, Mme Biden is scheduled to meet with senior Slovakian officials.