United States First Lady Jill Biden made a surprise visit to Ukraine on Sunday, where she met Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska at a school.
The school has been turned into a haven for people fleeing violence elsewhere in Ukraine and Russian bombings.
After visiting Ukrainian refugees in Slovakia, Jill Biden crossed the Slovak-Ukrainian border to the town of Uzhorod in southwestern Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Zelensky’s wife, Zelensky, 44, and their two children have been in hiding since Russia invaded Ukraine 10 weeks ago.
Zelenska got out of a black SUV guarded by Ukrainian soldiers. Jill Biden handed her Mother’s Day flowers, and the two embraced each other before meeting in a small side room at the shelter.
“I want to come on Mother’s Day,” Jill Biden said.
“We believe it is important to show the Ukrainian people that this war must end and that this war is brutal. The American people support the Ukrainian people.”
Zelenska appreciated the gesture by the US First Lady sharing her painful ordeal in the process.
“We felt it,” replied Zelenska.
Zelenska said: “First of all, I want to thank you for your courage. Because we know what it takes for the First Lady of the United States to come here during the war, because military operations take place every day, air raid sirens go off every day, including today .”
“We all feel your support, we all feel the advice of the President of the United States, but we want to emphasize that Mother’s Day is a very symbolic day for us because on such an important day, we also feel your love and your support. “
US officials said Jill Biden had communicated and exchanged letters with Zelenska in recent weeks.
The visit of the First Lady to Ukraine was not announced in advance and was not included in her public itinerary for security reasons.
Jill Biden’s convoy was curtailed en route to Ukraine, and several associates remained in Slovakia.
Jill Biden and Zelenska chatted behind closed doors for over an hour, then worked with the children at the center making crafts and bears out of fabrics and cardboard.