First lady Jill Biden makes surprise visit to war-torn Ukraine

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First Lady Jill Biden visited Ukraine on Mother’s Day, marking a rare solo trip for the wife of a sitting president to an active war zone.

Biden crossed the border from Slovakia on Sunday after visiting a processing center to meet with refugees, The Washington Post reported. She spoke with Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska, who has not appeared in public since the start of the Russian invasion.

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“I wanted to come on Mother’s Day,” the US first lady told Zelenska. “I thought it was important to show the people of Ukraine that this war must end and that this war has been brutal and that the people of the United States stand with the people of Ukraine.”

Zelenska praised Biden for taking a “brave” trip, which happened as an impromptu part of a four-day trip to Eastern Europe.

The two first ladies met in a small classroom in front of reporters before meeting privately. Zelenska and her children remained in an undisclosed location for security reasons, as Moscow made it a priority at the start of the invasion to try to assassinate Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his family.

The women then joined a group of children who live at the school to make tissue paper bears to give as gifts for Mother’s Day.

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Her visit is likely to reignite questions over when her husband will pay a visit to the war-torn country.

President Biden has yet to visit Ukraine even as the war has moved away from the western part of the country and focuses on the Donbass region. Several high-profile figures – including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – have now visited Kyiv and traveled its streets in support of Ukraine.

Zelenskyy told ‘State of the Union’ host Jake Tapper that he thinks Biden should go to Ukraine because “he’s the leader of the United States, and that’s why he should come here to to see”.

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Biden himself has said he is personally open to visiting Ukraine, but the White House over the past week has continued to insist that Biden has no intention of visiting.

“No, no,” Psaki previously said on the “Pod Save America” ​​podcast regarding the president’s potential plans to send the president to Kyiv. “We are not sending the president to Ukraine.”

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Jill Biden’s visit limited to western Ukraine; Russia is concentrating its military power in eastern Ukraine, and it was not in danger. On the same day as Biden’s visit, a Russian bomb destroyed a school in eastern Ukraine that housed about 90 people in its basement, with dozens killed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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