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Biden crossed the border from Slovakia on Sunday after visiting a processing center to meet refugees, the Washington Post reported. He spoke to Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska, who has not appeared in public since the Russian invasion began.
“I wanted to come for Mother’s Day,” the US First Lady told Zelenska. “I thought it was important to show the Ukrainian people that this war must end and that this war was brutal and that the people of the United States are on the side of the Ukrainian people.”
Zelenska praised Biden for taking a “brave” trip, which happened as an impromptu part of a four-day trip to Eastern Europe.
The two first ladies met in a small class in front of reporters before meeting in private. Zelenska and her children remained in an unknown location due to security concerns as Moscow made it a priority at the beginning of the invasion to try to assassinate Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his family.
The women then joined a group of children living in the school making tissue paper teddy bears to give as a gift for Mother’s Day.
Her visit is likely to rekindle questions about when her husband will pay a visit to the war-torn country.
President Biden has yet to visit Ukraine even as the war has shifted from the western part of the country to the Donbas region. Several high-profile people – including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – have now visited Kiev and walked his roads in support of Ukraine.
Zelenskii called “State of the Union” host Jake Tapper who thought Biden should visit Ukraine because “he is the leader of the United States, which is why he should come here to see”.
Biden himself said he was personally ready to go to Ukraine, but to the White House in the last week he continued to insist that Biden has no plans to visit.
“No. no”, previously Psaki said about the “Pod Save America” Podcast on potential plans to send the president to Kiev. “We do not send the president to Ukraine”.
Jill Biden’s visit is limited to western Ukraine; Russia is concentrating its military might in eastern Ukraine and was not in danger. On the same day as Biden’s visit, a Russian bomb leveled a school in eastern Ukraine that had housed around 90 people in her basement, with dozens of feared deaths.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.