Jill Biden visits Ukraine, meets with Zelensky's wife

Biden's trip to Ukraine is her first visit to a combat zone as first lady.
Jill Biden, Olena Zelenska, Uzhhorod, Ukraine, May 8, 2022

First lady Jill Biden made a surprise Mother's Day visit to Ukraine on Sunday where she met with Ukrainian President Vlodoymyr Zelensky's wife.

"This Mother’s Day, I wanted to be with Ukrainian mothers and their children," Biden wrote on Twitter, including a photo of herself with Ukrainian refugees in the Slovak Republic several hours before visiting Ukraine.

"Over the last few months, far too many Ukrainians have had to flee their homes – forcing them to leave behind their loved ones," she said. "As a mother, I can only imagine the grief and anxiety they must feel every day from Russia’s unprovoked attack."

Biden, 70, secretly traveled to Uzhhorod, Ukraine, near the border of Slovakia, marking her first trip to a combat zone as first lady, NPR reported.

She spent about two hours in the war-torn country in a school that was converted into a shelter for internally displaced refugees.

Biden posted a photo of herself giving flowers and a hug to Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska.

"On this Mother’s Day, my heart is with you, First Lady Olena Zelenska, and all of the brave and resilient mothers of Ukraine," Biden tweeted.

The first ladies for more than an hour behind closed doors, NPR observed.

Zelenska had been in hiding with her children, and this is her first public appearance since the Russian invasion began.

"I would like to thank you for a very courageous act," Zelenska said during brief press remarks after the meeting. "Because we understand what it takes for the U.S. first lady to come here during a war when the military actions are taking place every day, where the air sirens are happening every day even today."