First lady Jill Biden paid a surprise visit to Ukraine on Sunday where she met with first lady Olena Zelensky. Her trip comes shortly after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other Members of Congress visited Ukraine and met with President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The Associated Press reported on the visit from Uzhhorod, Ukraine.
Biden traveled under the cloak of secrecy, becoming the latest high-profile American to enter Ukraine during its 10-week-old conflict with Russia.
“I wanted to come on Mother’s Day,” the U.S. first lady 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.”
Biden spent about two hours in Ukraine, traveling by vehicle to the town of Uzhhorod, about a 10-minute drive from a Slovakian village that she toured on the border.
Zelenska 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 first ladies met in a classroom and greeted each other with reporters present before they began a private meeting. The AP noted that first lady Zelensky and his children have been in an undisclosed location for safety. The school where they met has been converted into housing for Ukrainian migrants.
“The visit allowed [Jill] Biden to conduct the kind of personal diplomacy that her husband would like to be doing himself,” the report added. “President Joe Biden said during his visit to Poland in March that he was disappointed he could not visit Ukraine to see conditions “firsthand” but that he was not allowed, likely due to security reasons.”