Steve May 8, 2022

KOSICE, SLOVAKIA – MAY 08: U.S. First Lady Jill Biden listens to Ukrainian women one of whom fled Charkov at Primary School Tomasikova 31 where she meets Slovak and Ukrainian mothers with kids on Mother’s day on May 8, 2022 in Kosice, Slovakia. Primary School Tomasikova 31 opened two classrooms for Ukrainian kids that found refuge in Kosice. U.S. first lady Jill Biden traveled to Romania and Slovakia to show support for Ukrainians displaced by war since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. (Photo by Zuzana Gogova/Getty Images)

First Lady Jill Biden traveled across the Slovakian-Ukrainian border on Sunday to pay a surprise visit to meet with her Ukrainian counterpart, Olena Zelenska. It was the first time Zelenska has been seen in public since the start of the war.

“I wanted to come on Mother’s Day,” Biden said to her Ukrainian counterpart, the two women seated at a small table in a classroom of a former school that is now a source of temporary housing for displaced Ukrainians, including 48 children. “We thought it was important to show the Ukrainian people this war has to stop. And this war has been brutal.” Biden added, “The people of the United States stand with the people of Ukraine.” 

Zelenska, who early on in the Russian invasion sent a letter to Biden, has exchanged correspondence with her American counterpart in recent weeks, US officials tell CNN.


Uzhhorod, Ukraine — Jill Biden made an unannounced visit to meet with Olena Zelenska, the wife of the Ukrainian president, at a school near the Slovakian border. Zelenska has been in hiding with the couple’s children.

— Katie Rogers (@katierogers) May 8, 2022

NBC News add context:

Biden’s unannounced travel into the country, which came amid a four-day visit to Slovakia and Romania, is unusual for a presidential spouse, and makes her the latest prominent official from her husband’s administration to visit Ukraine. The White House previously indicated that Biden would travel to the Slovakia-Ukraine border.

NBC News

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