First lady Jill Biden made an unannounced trip to Ukraine on Sunday, visiting Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska in Uzhhorod, a city in the southwest of the country.
Biden and Zelenska greeted each other in front of a former school now housing Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russia’s invasion, according to CNN. Zelenska has not made a public appearance since the start of the war Feb. 24.
“I wanted to come on Mother’s Day,” Biden said, according to the outlet. “We thought it was important to show the Ukrainian people this war has to stop. And this war has been brutal … The people of the United States stand with the people of Ukraine.”
The moment First Ladies Jill Biden 🇺🇸 and Olena Zelenska 🇺🇦met today in Uzhhorod, Ukraine pic.twitter.com/9UsdBBA6Eh
— Michael LaRosa (@MichaelLaRosa46) May 8, 2022
Biden’s Mother’s Day stop in Ukraine is part of her larger Eastern European trip to Romania and Slovakia where she met with U.S. officials, government members and Ukrainian refugees. (RELATED: Jill Biden Set To Travel To Eastern Europe In Solo Trip To Visit Ukrainian Refugees)
She was originally slated to meet Sunday with “humanitarian aid workers, and local Slovakians who are supporting families who have sought refuge in Slovakia during this crisis.” She was also set to meet with “Ukrainian mothers and children who have been forced to flee their home country because of Putin’s war,” according to a statement from her office.
Several U.S. officials, including Republican Montana Sen. Steve Daines, Republican Indiana Rep. Victoria Spartz and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, have also gone to Ukraine to visit the country at war with Russia.
President Joe Biden has not made any public plans to visit Ukraine, with White House press secretary Jen Psaki saying “You’re welcome, America. We need him to do a lot of things,” as a reason to why he is not going.