At a converted school that now serves as a temporary home for displaced citizens, Biden met with Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zhelenska, who has not been seen in public since the war began on February 24.
“I wanted to come on Mother’s Day,” Biden told his Ukrainian envoy. “We thought it was important to show the Ukrainian people that this war must be stopped. This war is brutal.” Biden added, “The people of the United States stand with the people of Ukraine.”
U.S. officials told CNN that Zelenska, who sent a letter to Biden at the start of the Russian invasion, had been exchanging letters with his U.S. envoy in recent weeks.
“First of all, I want to thank you for your courageous act,” Zelenska told Pita through a translator. “Because we understand the need for the first lady of the United States to come here every day during the war of military action. Even today the air sirens are happening every day. We all feel your support. We all feel the leadership of the American President, but Mother’s Day is the most symbolic day for us. We want to take notice because we feel your love and support on such an important day.
The closed door at the meeting of the two women was two-sided, which lasted about an hour and took place at a school before the war. The building has been converted into a refuge in collaboration with the Government of Ukraine and the United Nations International Organization for Migration. Dozens of internally displaced persons now live in a building on a leafy property near the town center of Uzhhorod.
The first lady spent the past two days meeting with humanitarian aid agencies in Europe and government officials in both Romania and Slovakia, as well as with displaced Ukrainians in both countries, focusing primarily on the health and emotional well-being of women and children.
Biden’s visit to Ukraine for the first time since Laura Bush’s secret, 10 – hour trip to Afghanistan in 2008. Both of Bush’s visits focused on his interest and support for Afghan women.
As the second woman in 2010, Jill Biden traveled to the Iraqi city of Baghdad on July 4 with then-Vice President Joe Biden on vacation.
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