First Lady Jill Biden on Sunday made a surprise visit to western Ukraine where she was greeted by her counterpart Olena Zelensky.
AP reports Biden became the latest high-profile American to enter Ukraine during its 10-week-old conflict with Russia after travelling in total secrecy.
“I wanted to come on Mother’s Day,” Biden told Zelensky on arrival. “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 first lady arrived by vehicle to the town of Uzhhorod, about a 10-minute drive from a Slovakian village that borders Ukraine, according to AP.
It is just the latest in a string of diplomatic visits she had made without her husband by her side.
First Lady Jill Biden is tipped to visit Japan for the Tokyo Olympics on a solo trip in place of President Joe Biden, the Yomiuri Shimbun daily reported Sunday. https://t.co/SMtEd8AlZO
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) June 27, 2021
Zelensky thanked Biden for her “courageous act” and said, “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.”
The school where they met has been turned into transitional housing for Ukrainian migrants from elsewhere in the country.
Jill Biden’s visit follows recent stops in the war-torn country 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 to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv.