First Lady Jill Biden became the most prominent American political figure to visit wartime Ukraine when she took a surprise trip to the country’s western region on Sunday.
dr. Biden met Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska in the western Ukrainian city of Uzhhorod and presented her with a bouquet of flowers. The first lady also wore a corsage on her arm that, according to polar reports, was a Mother’s Day gift from her husband. The visit was not announced in advance by the White House.
“I thought it was important to show the Ukrainian people that this war must stop and that this war has been cruel and that the people of the United States stand behind the people of Ukraine,” said Dr. Biden.
The White House pool and UN officials joined Dr. Biden and snapped photos of her hugging Ms. Zelenska, wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has been in hiding since the Russian invasion began.
“We understand what it takes for the US first lady to come here during a war, where the military actions take place every day, where the air sirens sound every day, even today,” Ms Zelenska said, according to the polar report. †
President Joe Biden has faced questions from his critics in the media and the US political establishment whether he would visit Ukraine after visits from other world leaders, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and now Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The Canadian leader also visited the Ukrainian city of Irpin, which was recaptured from occupying Russian forces, on Sunday.
The city’s mayor told Reuters that Mr Trudeau “came to Irpin to see with his own eyes all the horrors that the Russian occupiers have inflicted on our city,” while the prime minister confirmed the visit in a statement on Twitter, commenting further within hours. promised. further.
“I’m in Ukraine today with @cafreel and and @melaniejoly. We are here to show our support for Ukraine and its people. Our message to President @ZelenskyyUa and the Ukrainians is this: Canada will always stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine. More will follow during our visit,” he wrote.
Western Ukraine is ravaged by airstrikes as most of Ukraine’s fighting has shifted eastward, especially around Mariupol, where Russian forces appear to be on the brink of taking full control of the city; this would amount to Moscow’s first capture of a major civilian center since the beginning of the war, and its army failed to neutralize Kiev.
According to Reuters, which reported that the region’s governor announced the deaths of as many as 60 people, it is feared that dozens have been killed after bombs hit a school in Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region.
“Thirty people were evacuated from the rubble, seven of whom were injured. Sixty people are said to have died,” Serhiy Gaidai reportedly told Telegram.
dr. Biden met with Ukrainian mothers and children on Saturday where she said “the hearts of the American people are with the mothers of Ukraine”. The day before, she met refugees in neighboring Romania, as well as US military personnel stationed in the NATO member state.
A US official told polar reporters it was Ms Zelensky’s first public appearance since the invasion began.
The trip follows visits from US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a congressional delegation, as well as top defense officials, including Secretary Lloyd Austin.
The Biden administration has continued a campaign of full support for Ukraine, with some aggressive members of the president’s party even starting to claim that the US is now engaged in a “proxy” war with Russia.
“Not only are we at war to support Ukraine, but fundamentally, if somewhat through a proxy, we are at war with Russia,” Massachusetts Democratic Representative Seth Moulton said last week.