US First Lady Jill Biden arrived in Ukraine today after visiting Slovakia and had a meeting with Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska.
It marks the first time a US first lady has visited a war zone since 2015, when former first lady Michelle Obama visited Qatar’s Al-Udeid Air Force Base.
Mrs Jill Biden crossed the border from Slovakia into Ukraine after visiting the village of Vysne Nemecke.
It is currently present in the city of Uzhhorod, in the Zakarpattia region of south-western Ukraine. The First Lady of the United States met the First Lady of Ukraine at a school converted into housing for internally displaced Ukrainians.
It is the first time since the conflict broke out in late February that Zelenska, wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has made a public appearance. She drove in an SUV to meet the First Lady of the United States. She then gave First Lady Jill Biden flowers and the two chatted for more than an hour in a small room.
“I want to go to Ukraine on Mother’s Day. We think it is important to show the Ukrainian people that this war must stop, this war is already devastating. And the American people stand behind the people. Ukraine,” the US First Lady told the press after the surprise visit.
Earlier, the First Lady of the United States spent four days visiting Romania and Slovakia, two countries bordering Ukraine. Yesterday she visited a public school in Bucharest, Romania, where Ukrainian refugees are staying, and listened to their stories.
Vu Hoang (Corresponding NPR)