First lady Dr. Jill Biden makes surprise visit to Ukraine

First lady Dr. Jill Biden makes surprise visit to Ukraine, calling on the people of America and Ukraine to stand together in support of international aid efforts for those suffering from the crisis

The “First lady Dr. Jill Biden makes surprise visit to Ukraine” is a piece of news that was published by the Associated Press on November 29, 2017. The article discusses the first lady’s trip to Ukraine and her meeting with President Petro Poroshenko.

Dr. Jill Biden, the first lady of the United States, made a surprise trip to Ukraine on Sunday, meeting with Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, and visiting with Ukrainian children who have been displaced by Russia’s continuing conflict.

Biden crossed the border from Slovakia into southern Ukraine on Sunday afternoon for a surprise visit to a public school in Uzhhorod that had been transformed into a temporary refuge, holding 163 Ukrainians, including 47 children. It was an unusual visit to a conflict zone by a US first lady.

According to a US source, the first lady was received by Zelenska, who has not been seen in public since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. The two ladies have been exchanging letters in recent weeks, according to the official.

Biden told reporters accompanying her, “I wanted to come on Mother’s Day.” “We felt it was necessary to demonstrate to the Ukrainian people that this conflict must end, that this war has been horrible, and that the people of the United States stand with the people of Ukraine,” she said.

Biden’s visit was described by Zelenska as a “really daring gesture.”

Russia Ukraine War Jill Biden On Sunday, May 8, 2022, First Lady Jill Biden welcomes Olena Zelenska, the wife of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, outside of a public school in Uzhhorod, Ukraine. Susan Walsh / Associated Press

“Because we understand what it takes for the First Lady of the United States to come here during a conflict when military engagements happen every day, when air sirens sound every day, even now,” she said. “We all sense your support and the president’s leadership, but we’d want to emphasize that Mother’s Day is a very meaningful day for us since we also sense your love and support on such a significant day.”

Following a 30-minute private bilateral conversation, Biden and Zelenska visited with Ukrainians who had been evacuated from their homes and youngsters who were building bears out of cardboard and tissue paper for their moms. 

According to Michael LaRosa, Biden’s press secretary, the first lady returned to Slovakia after spending about two hours in Ukraine and talked with President Biden following the visit.

According to LaRosa, Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova, presented Biden with a letter from Zelenska during the State of the Union in March, and Ukraine’s first lady submitted another letter last month, expressing worries about the war’s impact on children, military, and families.

Biden is one of an increasing number of senior US officials who have visited Ukraine in secret in recent weeks. In April, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, and this week, a group of House Democrats headed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a covert trip to Kyiv and spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Mr. Biden did not visit Ukraine on his March tour to Eastern Europe.

Biden’s secret journey to Ukraine is the first time a sitting president’s spouse has visited a conflict zone since Laura Bush visited Afghanistan in 2008. In 2005, the former first lady paid a visit to Afghanistan. Michelle Obama spoke with soldiers at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar in 2015, which has been declared a war zone since 1991.

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