Ukraine’s first lady and children were in an undisclosed location for security reasons.
Jill Biden made an unannounced trip to western Ukraine on Sunday and had an unexpected Mother’s Day meeting with First Lady Olena Zelenska as Russia waged a punitive war in the east.
Biden was the last high-profile American to enter Ukraine during the 10-week conflict with Russia, traveling under the guise of confidentiality.
“I wanted to come on Mother’s Day,” said Zelenskaya, the first lady of the United States. “I thought it was important to show the Ukrainian people that this war must stop, that this war is cruel, and that the American people stand by the Ukrainian people.”
Biden spent about two hours in Ukraine, traveling about 10 minutes by car from the border village of Slovakia to Uzhgorod.
The two first ladies met in a small classroom, sat at a table one after the other, and greeted each other in front of reporters before meeting in private. Zelenska and her children were in an undisclosed location for safety.
Zelenska thanked Biden for his “courageous actions” and said: “We understand why the first lady of the United States should come here during the war, where military operations are carried out every day and air sirens are sounded every day – even today.”
The school they met has become a transit point for Ukrainian migrants from other parts of the country.
The visit allowed Biden to pursue the personal diplomacy that her husband wanted to do.
During a visit to Poland in March, President Joe Biden said he was disappointed that he could not visit Ukraine to see the conditions “first”, but was not allowed to do so for security reasons. The White House said last week that the president “wanted very much to visit,” but said he had no plans to do so at the moment.
The meeting followed correspondence between the two first ladies in recent weeks, who, according to US officials, declined to comment further because they did not have the authority to discuss the women’s personal communications.
When she arrived at school, she hugged Biden Zelenska, who wore a Mother’s Day corset, which was her husband’s gift, and gave her a bouquet.
After a private meeting, the two made a paper bear to give to a group of children living in the school as a Mother’s Day gift.
Biden’s visit comes after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of Congress made a final stop in the war-torn country, as well as a joint visit by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to Kiev to meet with President Vladimir Zelensky. .
His visit was limited to Western Ukraine; Russia is concentrating its military forces in eastern Ukraine and has not been harmed.
Earlier, he visited the border processing plant in the Slovak border village of Vysne Nemecke, investigating operations set up by the United Nations and other aid organizations to help Ukrainians seeking asylum. Biden attended a religious service in a tent set up as a place of worship, where a priest said, “We are praying for the people of Ukraine.”
Earlier, in Kosice, Biden met with Ukrainian mothers displaced by the Russian war in Slovakia and offered them support. He assured them that the “heart of the American people” was behind them.
Speaking extensively with a Ukrainian woman at a bus station in the city, now a 24-hour refugee reception center, Biden said he had difficulty explaining himself to his three children because he did not understand the war.
“I can’t explain because I don’t know myself and I’m a teacher,” Victoria Kutocha told Biden as she hugged her 7-year-old daughter Yulie.
Suddenly Kutocha asked, “Why?” Russia seems to be looking for an explanation for its decision to invade Ukraine on February 24.
“It’s very difficult to understand,” the first lady replied.
According to the White House, the 24-hour facility is one of six refugee centers in Slovakia and provides food, showers, clothing, ambulance accommodation and other services to an average of 300-350 people each day.
Biden also attended the Slovak public school, which accepts IDP students.
Slovak and Ukrainian mothers came together at the school for Mother’s Day, and their children made handicrafts to present to them.
Biden walked from table to table meeting with mothers and children. She told some women she wanted to come and that “the heart of the American people is with the mothers of Ukraine.”
“I just wanted to come and show you our support,” Vysne said before leaving for Nemecke.
Immediately after the Russian occupation on February 24, there were more than 10,000 border crossings per day, with an average of less than 2,000 per day in recent weeks, and much of that flow is daily cross-border traffic.
Biden is on a four-day trip to Eastern Europe to emphasize US support for Ukrainian refugees and allied countries such as Romania and Slovakia, which provide them with safe haven.
He spent Friday and Saturday in Romania, visiting US troops and meeting with Ukrainian refugee mothers and children.
In her journey, the First Lady of America followed in the footsteps of former First Ladies who traveled to war or conflict zones.
Eleanor Roosevelt visited military personnel abroad during World War II to raise the morale of the troops. According to the National Library of First Ladies, Pat Nixon became the first first lady to visit the war zone in 1969 during a visit to South Vietnam with President Richard Nixon. He flew 18 miles from Saigon in an open helicopter accompanied by US Secret Service agents.
Hillary Clinton visited the war zone and stopped in Bosnia in 1996. Four years after the September 11 terrorist attacks and the US-led war in Afghanistan, Laura Bush accompanied Kabila in 2005 and Melania Trump accompanied President Donald Trump to Iraq in December. 2018.
Jill Biden is visiting Ukraine on Mother’s Day to meet the First Lady
Source link Jill Biden is visiting Ukraine on Mother’s Day to meet the First Lady